We are very worried and dissatisfied that the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, through a fictitious amendment discussion in the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Communications, blocks the adoption of the amendments to the Law on Audio and Audio-Visual Media Services.
The proposed law received broad support from the journalistic community and passed international expertise from the OSCE and the Council of Europe. It is crucial for launching the media reforms in Macedonia, which should improve the quality of journalism.
This law interrupts the corruptive system for subsidizing domestic production in the national private televisions, it offers new of electing new members in the Macedonian Radio and Television and the Media Agency, which is more resistant on political influences, and the penalties for the media are drastically reduced.
The only weakness of this law is that it does not provide stabile and sustainable funding of MRT and the Media Agency, which guarantees their independence and professionalism. However, about 80 amendments were submitted by the opposition, but none of them refers to this weakness of the law.
This shows that the main preoccupation of MPs of VMRO-DPMNE is not the fate of MRT, but rather through fictitious amendments to protect their party soldiers in the MRT Program Council and the Media Agency.
It is inconceivable that VMRO-DPMNE opposes the adoption of the Law when the opposition controls the election of new members in the MRT Program Council and the Council of the Media Agency.
We call on the President of the Commission for Transport, Communications and Environment, Liljana Zaturovska, to schedule a continuation of the debate on the law for next week, and VMRO-DPMNE MPs to end the false debate and allow the Parliament to pass the amendments to the law.
Otherwise, we call on the parliamentary majority to take responsibility and unblock the media reforms. If the opposition continues to behave in a non-constructive manner, we ask the Committee on Elections and Appointment Issues to determine the termination of the mandate of four members of the MRT Program Council and one member of the Council of the Media Agency, because the procedure of their election was not followed. In addition, the Commission, in accordance with the provisions of the existing law on AVMS, should start a procedure for filling the vacant seats in the Boards of these two institutions.
If the government does not act in this way, it will put into question their sincere commitment to adopting the changes of the AVMS law and media reforms.