Macedonia monitoring report: Need for independent model of media subsidies for domestic production

In 2014, for the purpose of stimulating the domestic industry to create quality film and documentary programmes and enabling supportive environment for artists, scenographers and other practitioners, the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (2013) in Macedonia has been amended to ensure that national commercial TV stations and MRT produce and broadcast certain quota of domestic film and documentary programs. Except obligations to the national broadcasters, the Government introduces financial support for expensive production projects, as well as fines for non-compliance.

However, the overall process of selection, production and broadcasting of the projects in 2014 was hasty and non-transparent and as such influenced the quality of the programmes. The establishment of the respective body in charge, the selection of the projects and the state budget allocations to the TV stations were not made public, thus undermining the transparency of the procedure.

There are fears that the state subsidies might be conducive to imposing political influence by the Government. The non-transparent establishment, composition and the work of the Commission undermine the envisioned positive effects of the measure. In the past there have been ideas for establishment of an independent media fund for support of film and documentary programmes instead of Government-controlled subsidies, but none has seen the light so far.

The monitoring report was published in 2015 by SEE Media Observatory project, implemented by a group of SEENPM members since 2013, which stands for media integrity and journalism that serves public interest. The report is part of the effort to monitor the implementation of the law on audio and audiovisual media services in Macedonia.SEE_Media_Observatory_360_200