MP Ilija Dimovski’s “illustration” of SDSM’s media bill is inaccurate

VMRO-DPMNE has rejected the media bill proposed by SDSM to the signatories of the Przhino Agreement. According to Ilija Dimovski, member of the VMRO-DPMNE negotiating team, the motion is unconstitutional, uneuropean and unlike anything seen in civilised countries.

 

To illustrate, it would mean that if a Macedonian media outlet or journalist states that Kire Lazarov is a good handball player and does not include a party claiming that Kire Lazarov is a bad handball player, then the report is unbalanced and does not represent both parties equally; or if a journalist condemns a paedophile crime and does not provide a second point of view that justifies such behaviour, the piece is biased and does not represent both parties equally. [Source: Republika, Date: 04.02.2016]

 

ARGUMENT

Ilija Dimovski’s statement simplifies matters to the point of banality and is a perversion of the truth. The bill proposed by SDSM demands a greater balance in news reporting, which means representing the points of view of all the concerned parties in an event. Under no circumstances does it signify the interpretation Dimovski attempts to impose: that if a news report “does not include a party claiming that Kire Lazarov is a bad handball player, then the report is unbalanced.”

 

That notwithstanding, if one was writing a piece on Lazarov’s player profile or paedophile crime, onw would still need to support one’s claims by as many sources as possible – at least two, according to journalistic standards.

 

Robert Poposki, SDSM representative in the negotiations (on the media), maintains that their bill:

 

Is based on the proposal tabled by the international community, which is in accordance with the beliefs of the opposition and a major section of the media community, the journalistic trade and all employed in the trade, as well as the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. The opposition will not back down from media regulation which allows citizens a more objective portrayal of the conditions in the country. This is our red line, in the interest of fair and orderly elections, in the interest of the democratic ambient, which must be maintained.

 

Here is what the SDSM media bill stipulates:

 

Article 62-a

Political pluralism in the news and informative programmes

  1. Broadcasters of news and informative programmes shall provide equitable, unbiased, and balanced representation of various political or ideological standpoints.

  2. When reporting on issues which are the object of debate between political entities or in society in general, news and informative programmes shall provide adequate consideration to as many differing and/or clashing standpoints as possible, both in terms of an individual show as well as a sequence of successive shows.

  3. News and informative programmes shall not excessively emphasise the standpoint and opinions of a one person, institution, or organisation.

  4. Excessive emphasis of one specific standpoint shall be taken to mean that this standpoint receives significantly longer coverage in the news than other standpoints on the issue and the journalistic approach in the presentation of the standpoint shows favouritism.

  5. News presenters and journalist shall not express personal standpoints in the news or informative programmes.

  6. Standpoints and facts shall not be misrepresented.

Article 62-b

Political pluralism in debate, current event and contact programmes

  1. Debate, current event and contact programmes shall provide adequate representation of all differing standpoints on the programme topic.

  2. Presenters and hosts of debate, current event or contact programmes may express personal opinions on the topic of debate but shall not favour a certain standpoint or exclude alternative standpoints on the topic of debate.

  3. Standpoints and facts in debate programmes shall not be misrepresented.

 

In conclusion, Ilija Dimovski’s statement is false, as the bill does not stipulate that opinions and attitudes must be represented proportionately.

 

LINKS

 

by Vlado Gjorchev


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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