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Macedonia: Media Moguls In Politics Face Deadline

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By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

MPs who also own TV and radio stations have until the end of the month to choose between keeping their political careers or their media outlets.

Boris Stojmenov, MP and head of the small VMRO-Macedonian party, which is part of Nikola Gruevski’s government, has until September 30 to decide whether to step down as a parliamentarian, or risk losing ownership of Kanal 5 TV.

Macedonia
Macedonia

“All possibilities are open,” his son Emil Stojmenov says, adding that “although what they are demanding is ridiculous, we will respect the legal deadline and decide this by Friday”.

Five months ago, Macedonia’s Broadcasting Council, SRD, issued a deadline for the three big national broadcasters, Kanal 5 TV , Sitel TV and Kanal 77 Radio, to regulate their ownership or risk losing their licenses.

By law, public office holders and members of their close families cannot own electronic media.

Earlier this week Ljubisav Ivanov-Zingo, another MP and leader of the Socialist Party, announced that he intended to quit as an MP in order to allow his son, Goran, stay in charge of Sitel TV.

Kanal 5 and Sitel are the most prominent private national TV broadcasters and the two MPs’ involvement in the stations has long been a matter of controversy.

Meanwhile, Goran Gavrilov, the owner of Kanal 77, a radio station broadcasting nationwide, who is brother of Biljana Kazandziska, a legislator from the opposition Social Democrats, has proposed transfering his ownership to his son and wife so that a conflict of interests could be avoided.

The SRD has not yet approved his plan.

“The situation is absurd… we have a legally sustainable solution and the SRD has to make a decision,” Gavrilov complained to the newspaper Dnevnik on Tuesday.

This spring, the European Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fuele, mentioned resolving problematic media ownership issues as a precondition for the country’s progress towards EU membership.

The need to improve media freedom and independence has been regularly pinpointed in the annual progress reports on Macedonia issued by the European Commission.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

5 thoughts on “Macedonia: Media Moguls In Politics Face Deadline

  • Avatar
    September 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm
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    Laws are laws and must be followed even if it hurts Gruevski Vmro party, I applaud his no doubt painful decision. Some other countries in the region could learn from this man.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    September 28, 2012 at 6:09 am
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    I would recommend you not publicly support common sense moderate politicians in FYROM. Since you are Greek VMRO/IMRO will instantly label them “traitors”. Best to stay silent because VMRO/IMRO basket case supporters will only do the opposite of whatever you advise.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      September 28, 2012 at 8:49 am
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      he is not a greek but a skopian (blgari).It’s a lunatic habit among those comical nationalists in fyrom to use greek names or greek style avatar, for impresions

      Reply
      • Avatar
        September 28, 2012 at 8:57 am
        Permalink

        in few minutes you gonna see another fyrom (blgari)commentator with name nikolaidis he is presented as an “expelled greek” from 1948!!!! the comedy with them has no end

        Reply
  • Avatar
    September 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm
    Permalink

    Gruevski needs to have the media under his control in order to keep feeding the citizens of this country more false information and propaganda about their history and identity. You can’t have “Makenoids, the fathers of the white race” without the cooperation of the media.

    Reply

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