National Report: Macedonia

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In its own right, the issue of relations between youth and media in Macedonia is a complex one and should be reconsidered in terms of several aspects. Namely, it necessitates an analysis of the legal framework and possibilities available for the youth to get involved in the media space, decision-making processes, production of media contents and similar issues directly affecting relations between youth and media.

Not a single law adopted in the Republic of Macedonia includes a definition of youth, i.e. definition of age parameters for the category of young people. Additional problem is the fact that most recent official statistics dates from 2002 and is considered obsolete, because it does not reflect the actual and up-to-date situation. In practice, the arbitrary definition of youth’s age group creates serious problems and results in different numerical representation of young people in Macedonia. The present research adopted the general age group definition for youth as people aged 15 to 30 years. According to this definition, almost all data available indicate that the number of young people in Macedonia is around half million from the total population of around 2 million. Given the fact that youth represent around 1/4 of the total population, any country with such share of this particular population group, including Macedonia, should involve them in all areas of social life and thereby in the media space.
In Macedonia, the media space is regulated with the Media Law, which stipulates the basic principles and conditions that need to be fulfilled by media publishers in order to qualify for performance of this activity, and the Law on Audio and Audio-Visual Media Services, which stipulates the rights and obligations, as well as the responsibilities of broadcasting operators, providers of audio-visual media services and operators of public electronic communication networks.

There are more than hundred media outlets in the Republic of Macedonia, including private television stations with national concession, the public broadcasting service (MRT), local and regional television stations, radio stations, Internet portals and daily newspapers. Considering the market size, most media are not economically viable and they depend on government-subsidized campaigns or other business interests of their owners. In order to maintain their stability and economic viability, most of them are susceptible to influences and change of editorial policies and critical stances.

On the basis of information obtained in compliance with the Law on Free Access to Public Information, institutions in the Republic of Macedonia have not conducted any research or study with a focus on youth and media. During the interviews conducted with media organizations it was reported that organizations or media outlets have not conducted any research or study addressing youth and media. Various research projects about the media landscape have been implemented, but none of them focused on the topic of youth and media and the current situation in that regard. Given the fact that the media are public opinion leaders and that, in any country, young people should be the biggest critics and protectors of their human rights, there is a need for thorough analysis of relations between youth and media.

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