Freedom of the Press

Macedonia

Macedonia

Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

46

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

14

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

21

The government and Albanian insurgents exploited the news media to advance their divergent causes, pushing the country towards civil war more than once during the year. Intensive diplomatic efforts prevented the conflict from erupting beyond forced expulsions and massacres. The government did not repress the news media. There are many publications for a relatively small population but the pluralism of content resulted in information niches; members of one ethnic group rarely received news from another. Journalists favoring one side or the other carried false or sensationalized reports that were bound to enflame ethnic animosities. Some misinformation can be attributed to the lack of professionalism and proper journalism training. The government controlled the state-run television and radio network but also licensed a private television station with national outreach. The government owned one-third of the shares of newspapers in several languages. Positions of responsibility in these media are assigned politically so the papers' content is always pro-government. Other newspapers are privately held and often reflect party biases, but they generally have a wider readership than those controlled by the government. Several local television stations rebroadcast satellite signals. Most radio stations carry mainly entertainment programming. Legal penalties for slander were not used to penalize or harass journalists. The government distributed some funds received from TV and radio taxes to media in need of support. Police briefly detained a reporter in June, and later assaulted two contributors to Agence France-Presse.