Analysis: The role of structural pluralism in the Macedonian, Croatian and Montenegrin TV sector

Media pluralism is not clearly acknowledged in the legislation as a regulatory objective in the audiovisual field. The development of the audiovisual sector and the media pluralism (in Macedonia) to date did not take place strategically, and it was up to the regulator to implement their own strategic vision. Furthermore, the legacy fragmentation of the market, the political and industrial pressure on the regulator had an effect on the aggravation of the overall media image. The analysis shows that the audience in Croatia has the greatest access to a variety of general and specialized TV services with domestic content. These are the main conclusions from the comparative analysis “The role of structural pluralism in the Macedonian, Croatian and Montenegrin TV sector”, prepared by PhD Snezhana Trpevska. The full report is attached below:
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Analysis: The effectiveness of the legislation for protection against hate speech

Legislative amendments of the existing regulations aimed at more precisely defining hate speech, developing a consistent system for prevention and repression of acts of hate speech, including the application of the practices of the European Court of Human Rights by the judicial authorities, as well as ensuring urgent changes in the media regulations by introducing sanctions for hate speech and the inciting of violence through the audiovisual programs that the regulator would process in a misdemeanor procedure, are only part of the recommendations from the analysis of the MIM “The effectiveness of the legislation for protection against hate speech” by the author Nenad Zivanovski. The full report is attached below:

Regional Report: Media Literacy and Education Needs of Journalists and the Public in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia

The research on education needs of journalists and public in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia was carried out within the framework of the project “South-East European Partnership for Media Development”. The research aims to provide an up-to-date environmental analysis of the journalism education and media literacy programs available in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It provides real world data and informationon education needs in journalism and for the general public, as well as an overview of the environmental factors at the basis of media literacy. The key conclusions of the research are: • Level of knowledge and training of teachers/professors lags behind or is non-existent both in ICT and in media literacy. • Diverse backgrounds of teachers/professors, rarely with any practice in journalism, and not in possession of a degree in journalism. • State and private universities have been offering journalism degrees in the past decade, however there is a trend in the recent year of universites either closing, or transforming journalism programs into communications and public relations programs. • Journalism education, as every other discipline in education, is in a need of reforms, improvement of processes and addressing the gap between education and business. • Numerous industry and professional associations exist throughout the region, however they seem not to be leading the changes and improvements in the media industry, as the majority are not active or act sporadically. Professional organisations are not strong and do not power any major initiatives across all researched countries. • There is no structured and comprehensive information about journalism education, quality levels, as there is no authority across all countries which collects data about the progress of journalism stutents in the sector and their advancement in career. • Holding a degree in journalism is not essential for applying and finding a job in the media sector. • Professional qualification/journalism degree is not a driver for career growth. No journalists’ career paths or developed competency models were found. • No evidence is found about the existence of a direct correlation between education (degree hold) and positions in newsrooms hierarchy. • There is major dissatisfaction of media owners and editors with the knowledge and skills obtained in universities. • Media sector companies call for better programs, mirroring the industry changed requirements towards knowledge and practical skills, in the light of digitalisation and changed consumer/audience information consumption patterns. Newsrooms seek journalists with practical know-how and general education. • Cooperation between media sector and universities/education institutions is an individual effort, rather than an established, sustainable system of partnership. • Very often, journalists and editors face obstacles in applying best journalism standards, principles, and knowledge gained through workshops, qualifications, courses and formal education, because of media dependence on a variety of interests – political (pro and anti-government), business, commercial etc. • Education institutions (universities, schools) are chronically under budgeted to allow for high-profile guest lectors, equipment and practical trainings. Read the full report here. Read the document Considerations and Policy Recommendations here.

Analysis: Political Pluralism in Media Reporting in the Period Outside of Election Campaign

How to prevent possible repetition of the practice of granting an exclusive and privileged position to certain political power centres, as well as spreading propaganda on certain political parties and ideological opinions through the media, is one of the key problems in the media sphere in Macedonia. During elections, fair, balanced and impartial reporting is a legal obligation of the public broadcasting service and commercial media, but the problem arises and chronically pervades, especially outside the election campaign. Fair and diverse reporting, as well as the expression of the positions of different political and ideological groups, including the views and interests of minority groups through the media,1 are some of the key professional and ethical standards that can contribute to achieving a political pluralism in the media. Political pluralism is a wider concept that refers to “the capacity and possibility of all social segments, with their likely diverse political/ideological views and interests to address/reach the public by means of the media”. The full report is attached below:
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Analysis: Ownership and Financial Models of the Most Influential TV-Channels In Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia

International corporate companies, such as CME and RTL, that are well-established on the media market in Croatia and Slovenia, enable stable position and funding of commercial TV-channels on national level which they own, that consequently reflects the growing independence of their editorial policies. Unlike them, owners of commercial terrestrial TV-channels on national level in Macedonia appear to be exclusively domestic legal entities and individuals. None of the media companies that own the commercial terrestrial TV-channels on national level is registered as having media as a core business, and an additional problem is that some of the owners do not have understanding for the social responsibility and influence that the media have on shaping public opinion. Ownership of the media in Macedonia is formally clear, but ownership links with political and business centers of power are not actually broken. So far, as the responsibilities of institutions are set out, no one can and, as it turns out in practice, no one has a will to trace hidden connections that media maintain with political and business centers of power in the background. As a result, political interference in some highly influential national TV channels in Macedonia, in the researched period were explicitly present, to the extent of their misuse for propaganda spreading. This is only part of the content of the Analysis on Ownership and Financial Models of the Most Influential TV-Channels in Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia, conducted by the Macedonian institute for media, within the project “ReForMediaMKD – Citizens, CSO’s and Institutions reforming media in Macedonia”. The project is supported by the European Commission. The full report, together with conclusions and recommendation, is attached below:
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Parochial Journalism – Do Media Help People to Look Beyond the National Borders?

False news is the only direct link between the American presidential elections and Macedonia. The headlines such as “The Pope endorsed Donald Trump for President”, “Hillary Clinton will be arrested on paedophilia charges”, “Michelle Obama is a man” and much more absurd news was created by false websites from the small Macedonian town Veles, mostly by anonymous teenagers. With thousands of shares on the social media, it flooded mostly the American media, but it was also published by the Macedonian media, mostly portals, without checking the facts. One 16 year old owner of such a website stated for the British Channel 4 that his main motive was profit, but he also realised that: “People are hungry for news”. The public in Macedonia is hungry for news on the presidential elections in the USA and their geopolitical impact; it received sketchy information that is often not properly framed, and there was no thorough analysis in the domestic media. Stories taken over from the American and other foreign media were published without being contextualised for the domestic public. Such articles, as well as all other news items on foreign policy, unless it is a very big event, are usually aired at the end of the TV news or published on the last pages of the newspapers, while there is no specialised foreign policy show in the traditional media. International reporting is practically omitted or minimised in the media which leaves space for sketchy information, as well as speculations and manipulations. Access the full report here.
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Comparative Analysis of the Programming Councils of the Public Service Broadcasters of Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia

It is necessary to open a public discussion regarding the thorough reform of all aspects of operation of the public service broadcaster, Macedonian Radio-Television (MRT), and the future development of this broadcasting-house, in order to transform it into a modern European public service. The election of members to the Public Service Programming Council should be conducted through an open public competition in order to reduce direct political influences. Moreover, all stakeholders should consider the option of a possible increase in the number of members in this body, in order to ensure a more appropriate representation of the various segments and interests in the Macedonian society. In addition, the direct entry of certain members, the reviewing of the ban on participation of public service employees in the Programming Council, as well as the introduction of the so-called staggered term of the members should also be taken into consideration. MRT should promote transparency in its work and develop channels and mechanisms for communicating with the audience. These are the main recommendations from the comparative analysis of the Programming Councils of the public service broadcasters of Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia, prepared by Ms. Ljiljana Mitevska. The full report is attached below:
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Analysis: Programme Diversity of the Most Influential TV-Channels in Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia

Unlike Macedonia, the Croatian Nova TV and RTL are dominated by the entertainment shows and programmes, reality shows and the news programme, which are among the ten most viewed in general and individually by television channels. Both television channels broadcast Turkish series, but they are not dominant neither in terms of quantity nor prime time schedule, as it is the case in Macedonia. The broadcasting programme scheme of Nova TV and RTL is rich with many international TV series and films, enabled by the financially powerful media conglomerates that stand behind them, which can provide a rich catalogue of world production. On the other hand, the Turkish series are entirely absent from the list of the most watched shows in Slovenia, and the most popular are the entertainment programme, the news programmes and the domestic production. Domestic production dominates on the most viewed TV-channels. These programmes are listed among the highest on the top ten most viewed programmes on the TV-channels list in general and separately on each TV-channel. This is only part of the content of the Analysis on Programme Diversity of the Most Influential TV-Channels in Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia, conducted by the Macedonian institute for media, within the project “ReForMediaMKD – Citizens, CSO’s and Institutions reforming media in Macedonia”. The project is supported by the European Commission. The full report, together with conclusions and recommendation, is attached below:
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Models for funding and management of the public media services in the countries of Southeast Europe

The research team from the South East European Media Observatory has developed a comparative review of the public media services in the region, whose aim is to map the best practices in the management and funding models, which would enable the public media services to work in the public interest and to resist political impacts. The regional review includes the public media services in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. Inter alia, in the conclusions of the report, it is stated that the public broadcasting services in the region are exposed to constant crisis and pressure. In all countries from the region there is a huge necessity for reforming either the funding model or the management model, or both. This regional overview also reminds the public broadcasting services, the governments and the media reforms advocates of the existence of alternative measures for improvement of their independence and their function. The report of the regional review is available below: