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Propaganda and informing are not the same – propaganda messages are paid for

on 27 - 10 - 2016       
Овој напис го има и на: Macedonian, Albanian
За пропаганда се плаќа - барем така треба да биде. Фото: пиксабеј
The propaganda is paid for – at least that’s how it’s supposed to be. Photo: Pixabay

 

 

Informing signifies asking questions, analyzing, putting in context, following a certain development line, reassessing, searching for additional information

 

Author: Prof. Mirjana Najchevska PhD, human rights expert

 

According to the Article 2 in the Law on Media,

Media are instruments for public informing, i.e. communication of any type, such as newspapers, magazines, radio and TV programs, teletext and other instruments for publishing editorially shaped content in written form, sound or picture, daily or periodically, in order to inform and satisfy the cultural, educational and other needs of the broader public. Media are not newsletters, catalogs or other publication forms, irrespective of the publishing instrument, intended solely for advertising in the education system or for business correspondence, the work of companies, facilities, associations, political parties, state and judicial bodies, public enterprises, legal entities with public authorizations and religious organizations.

Informing signifies asking questions, analyzing, putting in context, following a certain development line, reassessing, searching for additional information…

This means that when one information is published identically as a certain political party has enunciated it (i.e. the entire content is a transmittal of a certain political party’s publication, especially when such content advertises what the political party or some state body managed by the same political party has done), when questions related to the content of such publication are not asked, when the critical reassessment of what has been enunciated is absent (opposition of various opinions and arguments), it is most likely a matter of a situation in which the medium, as an informing instrument, has become a newsletter of a certain political party.

The reporting of several media on the new foreign investments that are coming in the Republic of Macedonia can be taken as an example of the danger of turning a medium in a party medium, i.e. a state newsletter:

With each of these articles, the specific medium accepted the role of an advertiser of the messages of one political party, and instead of informing the public, it has turned into that party’s megaphone.

What the aforementioned articles lack in order to become information instead of party reporting?

First, they lack questions regarding basic data offered in the articles. For instance: what’s the basis for projecting the number of possible employments and the time period related to this projection? What’s the background of every investor? Was there another way of restarting the old facilities or opening new, except giving them to a foreign investor?

Second, they lack questions related to the conditions under which the agreement has been concluded with the Macedonian Government. For instance: whether the state will participate in these investments (as in many others before) with stakes in the form of exemption from paying social and health insurance of workers? How are the obligations toward the workers (employees) and the state defined and what are the sanctions if the agreed is violated?

Third, they lack analysis on these new investments put in the context of the past investments and comparison with the past, identically announced investments.

Fourth, they lack analysis on the effects (short-term and middle-term) of the previous investments on the Macedonian economy and the employment level in the Republic of Macedonia and the negative experience and the ways these new investments will address them and dodge the familiar problems related to foreign investments.

Fifth, they lack elementary verification of the given data and putting the data entirely in context with the statement.

For instance, the title MIZO: THE FOREIGN INVESTMENTS CREATED 17.000 NEW VACANCIES contains the statement of the Directorate for Technological Industrial Development Zones’ director, Viktor Mizo:

“In the discussion “160.000 new vacancies”, the director of the Directorate for TIDZ, Viktor Mizo, emphasized that the foreign investments had an impact on the unemployment decrease.

The unemployment decrease from 38 to 24 percent is extremely important, Mizo emphasized and added that the unemployment decrease will be followed by salaries increase.

As he pointed out, the foreign companies have created 17.000 vacancies, and this number is expected to rise to 18.000 by the end of the year”.

In order for this statement to become an information, and not an advertisement, the medium that has published it, should have asked for an answer whether the 17.000 vacancies is the total number of vacancies that have resulted from foreign investments, or just for a year. If it is a matter of the total number of newly employed as result of the foreign investments, then how many of these people still have jobs, and how many don’t? What’s the protection of the labor rights of workers that have a job? What are the salaries like, and what are budget resources allocated to these employees? What and how much has the foreign investor gained?…

Nobody disputes the need and the possibility of the political parties to have their own public bulletins through which they will publish their own programmes, represent themselves in front of the citizens and propagate their activities. However, the citizens must not be deceived that they receive information, while, in fact they receive propaganda message.

Nobody disputes the factual situation, that certain media are closer to one or another political option. However, there are minimal standards that have to be met so one article can be accepted as an information, not as a propaganda message. In absence of minimal standards, it is a matter of conscious misinforming of citizens.

Citizen’s confusion is “concreted” due to the fact that plenty of those megaphones are registered as “media”, and what’s more, with the so called “national broadcast licenses”. On the other hand, the real media and journalists refer to these party megaphones as “media”, albeit they are or they should have been, on the basis of Article 2, Paragraph 2 from the Law on Media, aware that it is a matter of propaganda centers. And they don’t have to hesitate to address things in compliance with the factual situations. Or, as a response to the attacks of the party megaphones – and to degrade themselves to that level.

 

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