Authors: Marina TUNEVA and Slavco MILENKOVSKI
The conclusions of the National Report are:
Media and journalists are faced with a difficult working environment in Macedonia, which is characterized by a lack of social and economic stability. This also results in pressure exerted over the media and journalists by editors, media owners and other centers of power, which in turn contributes to the increase of censorship and self-censorship.
The effect of social insecurity results in a lack of motivation, avoidance of investigative journalism and politically inappropriate topics, which in turn inevitably leads to improvisation in journalistic work. 38 The situation would be improved if journalists’ work is regulated with an agreement and if a minimum salary is defined. Low salaries of journalists, as well as cases of contracts that are not permanent and lack of collective agreements in the private sector, as well as the weak unions contribute to the poor working environment, particularly in the critical media. This also affects the level of respect for professional standards in informing the public and therefore the audience often gets poor quality information full of stereotypes and even hate speech. As a direct consequence, the mainstream media show partiality and subservience in favor of political and business elites and are not oriented towards the needs of the public for a proper and objective informing.
Therefore, most of the journalists recommend that the Government should stop imposing a control over the media content. The new measure meant to increase the personal income tax of the persons who are engaged with copyright contract or contracts for intellectual services (for example, freelancers) as of January 1, 2015 will be applied to a number of journalists, which will lead to further weakening of economic and social security. Trade unions and associations for the protection of worker’s rights asked the Government to postpone the application of the amendments in order to open a space for a public debate on the repercussions of this measure.
Access the full report here.