RESIS conducted the new assessment of the risks for media pluralism in North Macedonia, as part of the Media Pluralism Monitor 2023 (MPM2022), a project coordinated by the Center for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom from Florence.
The MPM data for 2022 unequivocally demonstrates that North Macedonia’s media system needs a new strategic media policy framework. This is due to the crystallisation of important systemic dislocations that started two decades ago and were nevertheless not matched with an adequate policy response. First, the digital native media sector expanded considerably and rapidly. The expansion created a discrete sector within the media ecosystem, which disrupted prior media configurations but was left unregulated. Self-regulatory initiatives within this sector only partially mitigated the laissez-faire effect. We now see high risks for the digital domain in many of the MPM subindicators, especially concerning the Market Plurality and Political Independence domains. Secondly, the excessive media fragmentation in the broadcasting sector in North Macedonia distorts the market since plentiful media organizations compete over scarce advertising resources and to survive put constant pressure institutions for state funding. This in turn diminishes effective pluralism in terms of diversity and quality of content. Finally, strategic rethinking is needed to encourage the development of local media initiatives – the fragmentation of the media landscape has created only an illusion of plurality, it has in practice singularised meanings in the media content offer. The new strategic thinking needs to stimulate the flourishing od local pluralism outside the control of party political and commercial interests.
The Media Pluralism Monitor is a scientific and holistic effort to evaluate the current threats to a pluralistic and free media landscape in Europe. To provide rigorous and sound findings, the CMPF team and the Country Teams involved in the project analyse 200 variables for the 20 indicators of the MPM, five for each of the four major areas: Fundamental protection, Market plurality, Political independence and Social inclusiveness. This cycle is based on data from the year 2022 and represents the sixth EU-wide implementation of the Media Pluralism Monitor project.