Journalists have raised concerns over a new round of amendments to North Macedonia’s Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (LAAMS).
According to the Association of Journalists of North Macedonia, the changes increase the role of the director of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services in disciplining media. The government can now also subsidise up to 50% of domestic film production costs for private media.
“We find this problematic because it brings risk that the government will influence even more national media by using public funds to cause certain content to be produced and broadcast. In our opinion this should be banned. Obligatory domestic production should be reduced taking into account its financial implication on the media,” Dragan Sekulovski, executive director of the Association told Index on Censorship.
For its part, the agency claims that the law’s aim is to promote media freedom.
“The suspicion for censorship is ill-founded, since, according to the constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia, censorship is forbidden,” Maja Damevska, spokesperson for the agency, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “The regulatory body takes care only of proper implementation of the media legislation and therefore has never undertaken a measure or an action that can be considered censorship.”
More reports from North Macedonia via mediafreedom.ushahidi.com