Media Situation in North Macedonia

Overview
Overview

The media landscape in North Macedonia is diverse and characterised by a decreasing quality of journalistic work, lack of objectivity and professionalism. This is mainly a result of increasing influence of political and business elites. At the same time electronic media have faced an inefficient implementation of new regulations adopted in accordance to the EU standards as well as objectives that the country has to fulfil on its path to the European integration. This provokes discussions and divisions of opinions among media representatives ("pro" and "anti" changes in the print media regulations).

Difficult financial situation

bad economic situation of the media, a small market, and close relationships between politicians and businessmen lead to a rather controlled media market. A lack of economic transparency and objectivity as well as increasing self-censorship are problems often mentioned by media experts, journalists and the international community. Owners of media outlets “are considered the greatest threat and are the force behind self-censorship. Most owners are far more concerned about their other business interests — which their media outlets exist to support”, according to the IREX Media Sustainability Index 2019 Report.

Internet portals on the rise

New technological opportunities inevitably brought huge changes in the media landscape, by which all media sectors are affected. National TV channels have been digitised. By written standards they should produce news, educative and cultural as well as entertainment programmes. But most of them are focusing on mere entertainment, music and film.

Internet portals intend to replace print media and promote online television offers. The quality of news portals is often rather poor. In order to be first by delivering news, they frequently don’t fulfil traditional professional standards.

Politics interfering with journalism

Many owners of new media outlets created after the collapse of former Yugoslavia were stakeholders who had nothing in common with journalism itself, they earned enormous amounts of money "overnight" in the early period of the transition and mainly took care of their own businesses by maintaining good relations with politicians. This led to very close relationships among some of the leading journalists, editors and editors-in-chiefs with political elites – relationships that have strengthened instead of diminished over the years.

The actual media scene is polarised – either media are pro-governmental oriented or pro-opposition. It is very rare to hear a truly individual opinion in public. Media obtain financial support either from pro-governmental enterprises or from those close to the opposition. Generally speaking, the polarisation of the media does not only exist from a political point of view, but also on a religious and ethnical level. For instance, ethnic Albanians have numerous private media outlets apart from the state supported ones.

 

Sources:

 

 

Jasmina Mironski, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje

2020 adjusted by Luise Mosig, KAS Media Programme South East Europe