Now, obviously, no one can prevent VMRO-DPMNE from creating such a media environment as that party believes this country should have
Macedonia does no longer have an independent state institution! VMRO-DMPNE, as a main holder of power, after five-year efforts, has finally succeeded in its intention to annihilate the independence of the only regulatory body in the sphere of electronic media – the Broadcasting Council.
Unable to accept that it is impossible in one (I am going to use in this occasion the adjective “normal”) country, that the government, i.e. the ruling party, to regulate, that is, translated in the language of this and such parties - to control the media and that according the democratic principles and international acts signed and accepted by the normal countries, there are (or should be) independent regulatory bodies, VMRO-DPMNE tried to diminish the role of the Broadcasting Council as much as possible.
Since in several occasions, only thanks to the serious warnings of the international representatives in the country and Brussels, VMRO-DPMNE did not succeeded to merge the Broadcasting Council with the Agency for electronic communications, transforming it into one marginal department of this institution which is totally under their control, they continued with permanent and strong pressures on the Council, constantly enhancing during elections and pre election campaigns.
Not until the moment they came to the genius idea on how to reach the desired control over the electronic media without actually eliminating the Broadcasting Council.
In order to establish control over this regulatory body, whose actual independence was experienced as a thorn in its side, the government has quickly made law changes, thus entitling itself to delegate 6 more members, although, even with the previous 9, the Broadcasting Council has already been one of the most robust regulatory bodies in Europe, that is, no European country has a regulatory body with more then 9, and most of them have 7 members. Thereby, considering that recently, the ruling parties as one of the legally authorized nominators, delegated three members in the current assembly, the government will now have the majority at any time and no one could ever prevent it from punishing and closing media whose way of information is disliked, first of all (judging by the way they react on every, even slightest criticism directed to them by some media) by VMRO-DPMNE and its leader.
The way itself in which the law changes have been made – in only few hours, from 18:30 have been passed by the parliamentary majority, submitted for ratification and signed by the president of the state, returned for verification in the Parliament and hastily announced, the same day in the Official Gazette! – are illustrative enough of the totalitarian methods used by this government.
Now, obviously, no one can prevent VMRO-DPMNE from creating such a media environment as that party thinks this country should have. A “healthy” environment, in which it is well known that some things (including people, that is, persons!) are sacred and it is not allowed for anyone to talk about them as one pleases!
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Ilir Ajdini is a writer and a journalist, until recently Vice President of the Broadcasting Council. He is currently a Program Director of Civil Media