These days, a problematic proposal for amending the media laws is circulating in the Assembly, through which the active ban on government advertising in the private media is deleted, and at the same time, huge sums are foreseen for the broadcasters from the citizens’ budget, not only at the central but also at the local level.
In contrast to the ruling political parties, the position of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (АЈМ), the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM), the Macedonian Media Institute (MIM), and the Council for Ethics in the Media (SEMM), фор several years is consistent when it comes to paid campaigns with funds from citizens in private media.
We point out that the return of state money to private media must not be repeated, because it has already been proven that this practice will have a disastrous effect on journalism and the media market. By repeating this mistake, North Macedonia is returned to the position had ten years when the media were directly bribed similarly and the editorial and journalistic independence was violated. We warn that such solutions will cause direct, permanent, and irreparable damage to the entire media sector. Therefore, it is necessary that the ban on advertising in the media remains a legal obligation and that it be respected by all units of the central and local government, as well as by public enterprises.
The anonymous proposal for amendments and additions to the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (LAAMS) which is currently being considered by the parliamentary groups was made at the discretion of the political parties without consultations and involvement of relevant trade unions, journalistic and media organizations and without any public debate. The attempt to push through and impose such bad laws in a non-transparent and non-inclusive manner indicates that the Government and political parties have no sincere intentions to create solutions that will guarantee the independence of the media and freedom of expression.