Media Development Center (MDC), monitored the work of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) and the Macedonian Radio and Television in the period April- June 2015, under the auspices of the USAID Programme for Strengthening Independent Media in the Republic of Macedonia and the USAID Project for Media Legal Reform and Responsible Media.
The public broadcasting service still shows a worrying degree of lack of transparency and remains closed in respect to the public and the citizens. The MRT don’t publish documents and materials concerning their work, or they do it on a very small scale, even though they are obliged by law. On MRT’s website, one can’t find documents concerning the appointment of the Director, Vice-Director and the Supervisory Committee, as well as timetables and records of the meetings of the Programme Council, or any of the decisions enacted by the steering or managerial organs within the MRT. The MRT management, haven’t, so far, responded to either of MDC’s demands to attend meetings of the Programme Council, despite the meetings of the Programme Council ought to be public.
The analysis of the composition of the new Supervisory Committee of MRT shows that five of seven admitted members work in state institutions, two of which come from the Office of the Prime Minister. Such a selection of personnel allows a direct control by the Government and state institutions of the work of the public service broadcaster and is direct violation of its independence and autonomy.
During this monitoring period, the Programme Council unanimously released the editor in chief of the Parliament channel of his duty and appointed a new one. The release and the appointment, as well as the reasons for these actions were not presented to the public and this shows, yet again, lack of transparency and neglect of public interest by the MRT.
The Monitoring of the work of AVMS shows that the Agency cut their activities in half during the second quarter and was primarily preparing for the move in a new object. In order to build and furnish the new object the Agency plans to spend 63% of their income from the current year. The fact that the financial plan is structured in such a manner shows that the Agency, this year, invests a lot more in their offices and furniture compared to media regulating.
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