The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), in the past few weeks has been closely monitoring the work of the Agency for Audio and Audio-visual Media Services (AAAMS) in the area of action against broadcasters for possible violations of the rules provided in the Electoral Code. At the request of some of the media outlets against which proceedings were initiated for violation of election silence, we had a lawyer present who followed the court proceedings. The court ruled in the first instance in favour of the media.
In order to get acquainted with the situation, AJM was in contact with the management and journalists from Telma TV, which was one of the affected media against which charges were filed, but also with the management of AAAMS, and during yesterday, information with more details was submitted.
Following the official publicly available minutes for the work of the AAAMS Council, we comprehend that the director of AAAMS, Zoran Trajcevski at the 27th session of the Council, held on 15th of July 2020 in his explanations for initiating charges against TV Telma and Alsat M, tried to influence the councillors to make decision to the detriment of the media using personal qualifications and findings, without providing evidence. According to the minutes, he retells telephone conversations he had with the management and journalists from both televisions, which is unusual manner of communication, while giving his subjective qualifications. This negatively affects the image of these journalists and editors, which is unacceptable for the head of regulatory agency.
Furthermore, he points out that he had received report from the director of one of the five televisions (TV Sitel, TV Kanal 5, TV Telma, TV Alsat M or TV Alfa), without indicating from which TV station and that the director was under “severe pressure from the ruling party to announce the press conference of Minister Filipche as it would allegedly bring big political points.” In the minutes Trajcevski adds that “the television rejected the request as 115 media in our country did, except for these two media (Telma and Alsat) which want to present themselves professionally, and that the Agency works tendentiously against the public interest.”
At the request of AJM to provide us with evidence that confirm this type of pressure, AAAMS pointed out that the alleged pressure on the mentioned director of national television was reported to the EU Delegation in Skopje and the technical Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski.
We emphasize that putting pressure on the media is serious act, and instead of retelling the report from the director of a television, at the Council session, the director Trajcevski should have submitted the evidence to the Council, and AAAMS to address the competent institutions and law enforcement agencies to initiate appropriate procedure.
By acting in this way, by personally labelling the media and their professionalism in political context, all without evidence, is unprofessional and tendentious by the director of AAAMS, in this case to the detriment of TV Telma and Alsat M.