On June 30, Freedom House released all 29 country summaries from the 2009 Edition of Nations in Transit. It is the 13th edition of Freedom House’s comprehensive, comparative study of democratic development from Central Europe to Eurasia. Among the countries examined, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) figures as well. The complete report can be found here.
On this occasion we will focus on the situation regarding the media of the State of Skopje.
According to the Freedom House report:
There is a diverse selection of print and electronic news sources representing a range of political viewpoints. Funding and political influence remained problematic in 2008, as many local public radio stations and magazines were closed due to lack of funding. Yet quite a few national television channels started broadcasting during the year.
A few television stations are owned by political party leadership. Ownership of the leading print media remains highly concentrated.
During the June parliamentary elections, the media did not treat all political parties equally; the public television broadcaster showed bias in favor of government parties.
There were few instances of violence against journalists in 2008.
However, many faced libel suits, including one filed by the prime minister.
Despite the 2006 Law on Free Access to Information, gaining access to information was problematic for journalists and concerned citizens alike.
The Broadcasting Council and FYROMian Television and Radio, the public broadcaster, lack financial independence because of the failure of the fee-collection system. In addition, the terms of three members of the Broadcasting Council expired before the elections and they were not immediately replaced.
Internet penetration grew during 2008.
We also read in the Judicial Framework and Independence section, that: “Although reforms picked up pace in 2008, they were offset in part by libel cases against journalists, leaving FYROM’s rating for judicial framework and independence unchanged at 4.00″ ,having the same rating since 2004, with no signs of improvement.
A conclusion applied also in the Independent Media section, since the skopje media have a rating (4.25) that remains the same as it was back on 2004, worse in any case than the relative measurement of the 1999-2003 period.
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