It’s true that VMRO-DPMNE filibusters the key media law

 

The amendments to the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services have been in the making since the so called Pržino process in 2015-2016, when the then four leading parliamentary parties discussed these amendments, because the area of media was marked critical for the democratic development of Macedonia. That was stressed in Priebe’s Report and was also a part of the Urgent Reform Priorities. Secondly, it is a fact that the entire expert and professional public, whose stances have been incorporated in the Law, participated in the discussion on the proposed amendments

 

Assessed by: Teo Blazhevski

 

The Minister Damjan Manchevski made a statement yesterday on the key media law, which we assess as truthful:

Statement: For four months, the opposition has been filibustering the passing of the Law on the Audio and Audiovisual Media Services with endless debates on the lodged amendments. The Committee on Transport and Communications has had only 6 sessions. We’ve managed to pass 7 amendments only, with 67 remaining. With this pace, the law will be passed in 2 and a half years…

…Politics must take its hands off the media once and for all. This proposed law offers that chance and we must use it.

[Source: Government’s website – Manchevski, statement, date: 13 June 2018]

 

EXPLANATION:

Damjan Manchevski, Minister in charge of media in the country, made a statement yesterday on the procedure for passing the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (LAAMS), which we deem truthful.

It’s a matter of multiple arguments made by Manchevski, which can be corroborated by facts.

Firstly, the law that has been in passing procedure for more than three months in the Parliament of the RM is facing tens of amendments lodged by VMRO-DPMNE. Most amendments were lodged by the party prior to committee’s session during the second reading of the Law. Truthmeter had the chance to see the amendments and we can confirm that most of them are procedural, while some of them enhance the text lexically and are related to articles’ precision. However, according to media stories on this matter, as the discussion on the law moves on, VMRO-DPMNE keeps lodging new amendments, and some of them are precisely as Manchevski described – for instance, election of new members of the Program Council of the Macedonian Radio Television or members of the Council of the Media Agency behind closed doors. As regards the Media Agency, it is the sole independent regulatory body which is exceptionally important for regulating the market and the manner of operation of radio and TV stations across the country. We can support the abovementioned arguments by reposting the links by media who vigorously follow the discussion on this matter – META, 24 Vesti, Telma

In fact, Truthmeter published Manchevski’s assertions in a recent analysis.

There is yet another proof that VMRO-DPMNE filibusters the passing of this law, although in this case, the party is not directly pointed at. Some private broadcasters, holders of national license, yesterday spoke up against the filibustering. Namely, Kanal 5 said that the 5 private TV stations with national license believe that the law is being halted deliberately and called the political parties to clearly deliver their amendments to the TV stations so they can see why the law is being filibustered. But it was clearly said that the TV stations “request an end of the filibustering in meetings with the opposition”.

Several more facts. The amendments to the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services have been in the making since the so called Pržino process in 2015-2016, when the then four leading parliamentary parties discussed these amendments, because the area of media was marked critical for the democratic development of Macedonia. That was stressed in Priebe’s Report and was also a part of the Urgent Reform Priorities. Secondly, it is a fact that the entire expert and professional public, whose stances have been incorporated in the Law, participated in the discussion on the proposed amendments.

Hence, the announcement made by VMRO-DPMNE, saying that their amendments have resulted from a particularly poor law, whose aim was to grant control over the media to SDSM, simply cannot be made generally. Such position, without arguments, is a worthless empty rhetoric, and the result is filibustering of the amendments that aim at improving the key segments in the law.

Therefore, we assess Manchevski’s statement as truthful.

 

SOURCES:

 


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.

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