CDRSEE attends NATO Parliamentary Assembly: ‘It is time to re-build multiethnic societies in the Balkans’
The three-day Rose Roth Seminar of NATO Parliamentary Assembly, held in Skopje this year, was closed with the session ‘Interethnic Relations in the Western Balkans’. Panel participant, Executive Director of CDRSEE and Editor in Chief of ‘Vicinities’, Zvezdana Kovac gave her assessment on the current situation and the possible avenues towards strengthening reconciliation efforts in the Western Balkans, at a time when the region finds itself at a crossroads in many ways. “It is necessary to work on internal reconciliation, in order to be able to realise regional reconciliation”, she stated, further, stressing that it is only through multi-perspectival education, interethnic dialogue and critical thinking that the Balkan peoples will ever manage to throw off the shackles of ethnocentrism and past divisions. She continued to comment on the current state of interethnic relations in the region, adding that "The ‘peace’ is simply an end of outright conflict and a division of lands and systems, rather than a resolution of the problems that caused it in the first place. The weight of history and the prejudices that the views of history creates, as well as mistrust among nations and ethnic groups remain intact. How is it that the interethnic relations were a good example of coexistence a century ago, but have caused so many rifts in modern history? It is time to rebuild multiethnic societies in the Balkans!"
Other panel speakers include Veton Latifi, professor at the University of Southeast Europe, the moderator Maria Martens, President of the Science and Technology Committee of NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
The Assembly, held for the 98th time, was organized in cooperation with Macedonian Sobranie, tackling the issue of ‘Euro-atlantic integrations in the Western Balkans: Reinforcing the European Peace Project’.
Alsat M’s report from the session “State of the media in the Western Balkans: The impact of misinformation and fake news on public opinion”:
Conflict between government and opposition over media law
No settlement has been reached for the dispute sparked off between government and opposition on the approval of media law. The opposition has impeded the approval of the law due to a series of debates and amendments, whereas the head of Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Communications, Liljana Zaturovska of VMRO-DPMNE, has not even included the law in the agenda. The Association of Journalists in Macedonia has made an appeal towards the opposition to put an end to the impediment of media reform.
Naser Selmani, head of AJM, stated: “This shows that the future of RTVM is not the main concern of the opposition MPs, but rather it shows how they are trying to defend their party soldiers in the RTVM Council of Programmes and Media Agency Council by stirring up the debate”.
The Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in the Balkans, Zvezdana Kovač, stated that the professional level of the State Television is very low and that the current government should take measures to change the situation.
Zvezdana Kovač, the Executive Director of CDRSEE stated: “I know that you are new to this as a government and have more important things to do, but you should definitely do something because I have been watching RTVM and what I saw was unprofessional. And I am not talking about who should be in charge of RTVM because no one can own public television and be biased, but will you ever engage professional people?!”
The Minister of Communication and Transparency, Robert Popovski, stated that he is aware of the lack of quality and professionalism in the State Television. According to him, all RTVM flaws are regulated in the new media law that is being impeded due to opposition VMRO-DPMNE.
Robert Popovski, Minister without Portfolio, for Communication and Transparency, declared: “I want to make again an appeal to the opposition so it supports the Law and gets involved in the process. Unfortunately, committee debates are increasingly slowing down. I call on all political structures to support this law as now they have the support of the media community, citizens and are not in need of political interventions”.
A few days ago, the opposition declared that it is not impeding the law. VMRO-DPMNE is determined that the members of RTVM Council and Media Agency Council should not change. The Committee on Transport and Communications has submitted 73 amendments with regard to the media law, 12 of which have been submitted by the majority of the parliament. So far, there has been a discussion about 7 VMRO amendments, but none of which has been approved.