European Union for Freedom of Expression: Alignment of National Media Legislation with the EU Acquis and Media Standards
PMCG, as part of an international consortium led by B&S Europe, will begin implementation of a new EU-funded project entitled “EU for Freedom of Expression: Alignment of National Media Legislation with the EU Acquis and Media Standards” in North Macedonia.
The project has an expected duration of one year and aims to engender a legal environment that promotes freedom of expression, competitiveness, and sustainability of the media market through the harmonization of national media legislation with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (EU)2018/1808. The project also aims to harmonize the national media legislation with the EU regulatory framework, to promote freedom of expression and media pluralism across the whole media environment, to achieve greater competitiveness and sustainability of the media market, and to strengthen the socio-economic position and labor rights of journalists.
Throughout the project’s implementation, a team of experts will revise the media legislation and ensure its harmonization with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (EU)2018/1808. The team will analyze the media market and the legal framework with respect to competitiveness. Furthermore, the experts will assess the extent to which the legal framework protects journalists’ social and labor rights.
“This project will contribute to filling the gap in the media sector vis-à-vis the need for systematic reforms in North Macedonia and ensure further alignment with European legal standards for the media. The expected impact is not only to make amendments to crucial laws relevant to the media community. It should go well beyond that. The presumption is also that mutual consultation will raise awareness about decision-making factors and other essential interlocutors. Pertinently, the freedom of expression and the independence of media, together with the economic and physical safety of journalists, are preconditions for a prosperous country,”said Dragan Sekulovski, consultant engaged in the project.
The EU has been monitoring and supporting the process of developing media policies in North Macedonia and supporting the harmonization of its national legislation with the EU acquis for more than two decades. In addition, through various financial support instruments, the European Commission has worked to strengthen the capacity of relevant institutions, as well as regulatory and self-regulatory bodies. Some of the most important examples of the EU’s engagement and support in these regards are: regularly monitoring the process of harmonizing the national legal framework and its implementation in annual reports; assigning and providing experts through the TAIEX instrument and the first Strategy for Development of Broadcasting Activity; strengthening institutions through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA); and supporting the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the media reform processes, through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).