BIRN Macedonia Launches Media Ownership Monitor Database

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The Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) database for North Macedonia, with information about 11 television channels, five radio stations, 13 online media outlets and five newspapers, was launched in Skopje on December 14 by the non-governmental organisation Global Media Register, GMR and BIRN Macedonia.

Photo: BIRN

The database covering media in North Macedonia is available in English and Macedonian, and will soon be available in Albanian too.

Over the past six months, BIRN’s team, with the help of experts and in cooperation with GMR, collected publicly available data and financial information about the media outlets and their owners, as well as details of the owners’ business connections.

The database findings mapped high, medium and low-risk areas for media pluralism. They indicated that there is a high risk that media ownership, audiences and readerships and markets are overly concentrated.

The findings also showed a noticeable gender imbalance in the industry.The most influential Macedonian media are mainly run by men, for whom the media they own is often not their main business.

David Geer, the EU ambassador to North Macedonia, opened the event with a speech emphasising the public’s right to know who owns the media that produces the news they consume.

This was followed by a discussion moderated by Ana Petruseva, BIRN Macedonia’s director. The speakers included Olaf Steenfadt, GMR’s founder and managing director, Snezana Trpevska, co-founder of the Resis Institute, Dragan Sekulovski, the director of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia, ZNM, and Magdalena Dovleva, a representative from the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services.

They spoke about the key problems facing the country’s media industry, the legal changes that will bring back state advertising in the media, subsidies for print media and the dilemmas surrounding the announced regulation of online media.

MOM was initiated by the German branch of Reporters without Borders with the aim of defending freedom of the media, as well as the right to inform and to be informed everywhere in the world.

In 2019, the project grew into the Global Media Registry, GMR, an independent non-profit organisation registered under German law. In Western Balkan countries, GMR cooperates with BIRN. Along with North Macedonia, MOM databases have been published by BIRN in Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project is funded by the EU.