North Macedonia Mulls ‘Public Interest’ Campaigns to Placate

According to the draft proposal, the model of state financing of televisions and radios would run through mandatory “campaigns of public interest”.

The government would be obliged to implement one to four campaigns of public interest each year at central level, while the municipalities would have a similar task at local level.

A mandatory 0.1 per cent of budget revenues would be provided for government public interest campaigns at central level, equal to about 3.5 million euros.

Seven per cent of this money would be spent on the production of the campaigns; the other 93 per cent would be earmarked for their broadcasting.

This significantly larger amount for broadcasting the campaigns would be split among national and other television stations under the ratio of 80 to 20 per cent, in favour of the five television stations with a national concession.

A special parliamentary committee would recommend the campaigns to the government.

According to the draft proposal, the commission would comprise of three MPs from the government and three from the opposition.

Any of these MPs could propose campaigns, from January 1 to 20 each year. The committee would decide which one or ones to propose to the government.

After that, the government would select a production company to produce the campaigns via a tender.

The amendments, which are still in the draft stage, provide a similar mechanism for the campaigns of public interest at local level.

These would be implemented by the municipalities, with the difference that the money will be distributed differently among the media – half for the national televisions and half for the rest.

The proposed amendments define a public interest campaign as “a campaign of public interest [that] contains exclusively informative and educational messages and is aimed at a large number of people in a certain period of time”.

They also say that a “campaign of public interest does not mean topics related to history, religion, political and diplomatic activities”.

Videos for the campaigns would be marked visually in the lower right corner of TV screens as a “campaign of public interest”. Radio campaigns would be audibly marked with a specific jingle.

Media demand some form of support