Announcements, News, Activities - One




In accordance with the announcement for the session no. 78 of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, scheduled on December 28, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at which the item: Amended Draft law on changing and amending the Law on audio and audiovisual media services is put on the agenda (hereinafter in the text referred to as LAAVMS) - II reading, the public communication network operators that rebroadcast program services (hereinafter in the text referred to as: operators) had a meeting on December 27, 2018 upon an invitation of the Association of Information and Communication Technologies within the Economic Chamber of Macedonia which was attended by representatives of all operators.

Благој Христов

The draft LAAVMS was reviewed at the meeting pursuant to the most recent available information on the materials available on the web page of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia and a particular accent was put on the changes introduced to Article 143, paragraphs 3 and 4, as well as to Article 47 with which transitional and final provisions are foreseen regarding the application of Article 143.

Of the discussion in which the representatives of the operators the following conclusions were made:

1.  The proposed provisions foresee introduction of responsibility borne by the operators for rebroadcast programs which is without precedent and which is completely different than the essence of the definition of the notion-rebroadcast determined by Law, in conditions when the operators do not have a responsibility to act as editors nor have they the control on the rebroadcast programs that is borne by the radio broadcasters.

2. The proposed provisions introduce full discrimination of the foreign radio broadcasters compared to the domestic radio broadcasters on the basis of the obligations they have to fulfill so that they are rebroadcast on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia which will practically put an insurmountable hindrance for rebroadcasting foreign TV programs, which is converse to the EU Directive on rebroadcast and the Directive on Television without frontiers.

Благој Христов

3.   If the proposed changes are adopted, the operators will be put in a situation in which they will not be able to rebroadcast foreign TV programs, which will result in a disastrous regress of the selection of the programs of the subscribers due to the fact that at least 5/6 of the existing program packages contain foreign TV programs. This would contribute to limiting the available program packages to only local contents, i.e. to a full "media darkness".

4. These provisions infringe all basic principles of the broadcasting activity and the media policy determined by the EU and of the existing legal solutions related to the freedom of expression and television without frontiers.

5.  Article 47 is completely unclear and creates serious uncertainty in the work of the operators.

6.   From the above stated facts and arguments, all operators are in accord and propose deletion of these provisions by the law petitioner.

The representatives of the EU Delegation in the Republic of Macedonia, the OSCE Delegation and the relevant embassies in the Republic of Macedonia (affected by this draft law) will be duly informed about the conclusions of the Association of Information and Communication Technologies within the Economic Chamber of Macedonia.

Благој Христов

If these legal solutions are adopted by the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, the operators will be forced, pursuant to the legal norms, to turn off the foreign program services/channels they rebroadcast and that will last until the disputed legal provisions are not changed.

Lazo Angelevski

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