No violations of Electoral Code in media coverage during first round of local elections

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No violations of Electoral Code provisions were committed by broadcasters during the media coverage of the 2021 local elections, shows the report on media coverage for the period Sept. 27-Oct. 15, published on Monday by the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services.

According to the Agency, all commercial services a local level made efforts to provide media coverage of the election campaign and nearly all of them reserved a number of special information programs for election participants, apart from reporting on them in the daily newscasts.

“Campaign coverage wasn’t in line with principles of equality in the case of mayoral candidates and proportionality in cases of municipal councilor candidates. News desks reported on the election campaign pragmatically, in line with expectations from previous experience, prioritizing SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE and their coalition partners, instead of in line with the legal requirements. However, there are a number of reasons for this, including the large number of candidates for mayor of Skopje and Skopje municipalities, as well as for municipalities across the country,” the Agency said in a press release.

The public broadcasting service, read the release, abided by legal requirements over the structure of newscasts, debates and free political ads. The Parliamentary Channel also aired free political ads for many candidates.

The monitoring covered 13 program services – national commercial TV stations Alsat-M, Alfa, Kanal 5, Telma, Sitel, 24 News, 21-M, Shenja and Klan, as well as the program stations of the Public Broadcaster – MRT1, MRT2, the Parliamentary Channel and the First Programme of the Macedonian Radio.

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