Macedonia - Supporting Decentralization through Strengthening Local Broadcasters

Project Dates
April 2006 - March 2007

Overview

The project seeks to increase citizen access to accurate information on the decentralization process at the local level in Macedonia, thus encouraging active participation in decision-making and proactive citizens in all spheres of municipal life. The project empowers local broadcasters to play their critical role in informing the local populations in Macedonia on local issues and specifically on the impact of decentralization, and thus to contribute to promotion of participatory and accountable democracy and good governance. The project is funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Global Opportunities Fund.

Background

Decentralization in Macedonia is critical to the country’s future. The process started from the 2001 agreement that ended the country’s conflict and may well have prevented a bloody civil war. The key components of decentralization are the empowerment of local municipalities in terms of government and fiscal responsibility. There are also key language and judicial rights linked to decentralization based on the ethnic and linguistic make-up of local populations. The changes decentralization is bringing to Macedonia are significant and complex. The population is generally poorly informed and there is much disinformation and misinformation. Television is by far the most influential medium in the country but local broadcasters are weak both financially and in terms of professional capacity. Yet, they need to play a vital role in providing information at the local level as national broadcasters simply cannot address the vast differences of each region. Local broadcasters are also essential in playing a watch-dog role with local governments, which will become greatly empowered through the process of decentralization.

Project Activities

This project aims to empower local broadcasters to play their critical role of informing the local populations in Macedonia on local issues and specifically on the local impact of decentralization, through a series of targeted trainings of a key group of broadcasters who are best positioned to fulfill this role. The broadcasters will be better able to raise public awareness and understanding of decentralization, through providing increased citizen access to accurate information on the decentralization process on the local level.

IREX Europe is ensuring implementation of the following activities

- Journalism workshops on decentralization issues: seven in-house workshops, bringing in experts on decentralization, to ensure local journalists and media fully understand the issues and laws involved.

- Training for journalists: seven intensive in-house trainings focusing on producing high quality news programs, incorporating issue-based reporting on decentralization as well as education on decentralisation issues.

- Media coverage: assisting the media to provide reliable information on decentralization and raise public awareness through assisting broadcasters to produce explanatory graphics, news programs, chat shows and debates on decentralization at the local level.

Other IREX Europe projects in Macedonia:
- Macedonia Programmes Overview
- Media Sustainability Index for Macedonia 2005
- Macedonia - Support to Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM)
- Macedonia - Support to Association of Private Electronic Media in Macedonia



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