Macedonian Radio Television (Makedonska radio-televizija, MRT) is the public broadcaster in North Macedonia. The company was founded through a decision of the Macedonian parliament in 1993. Although it officially changes its name to National Broadcasting Service in 2019, the outlet is still widely known as MRT. Hence, we will still use MRT in our database.
Television: MRT 1, MRT 2, MRT 3, MRT 4, MRT 5, MRT Sobraniski Kanal, MRT 1 Sat, MRT 2 Sat; Radio: MR 1, MR 2, MR 3, MR Sat
Ownership and governance
The Republic of North Macedonia is the founder of MRT and runs the broadcaster as a public enterprise. The station is regulated by the Law on Audio- and Audio-Visual Media Services (LAAVMS).
The main governing body at MRT is a Programme Council consisting of 13 members who are appointed by Parliament based on nominations from a group of institutions that are legally empowered to propose candidates. They are appointed by Parliament with a two-thirds majority. The model where civil society organizations make proposals for candidates is designed to ensure the authorities do not control the governing bodies at MRT. When the process lacks transparency, such control can be achieved. In recent years, independent journalists and civil society organizations criticized the council members for failing to fulfill legal provisions and being politically biased.
The broadcaster also has a Supervisory Board, the second most important body of the MRT, which consists of seven members chosen by the MRT Programming Council through an open competition. The Director General is also selected by the MRT Programming Council through an open competition.
Source of funding & budget
According to the Public Revenue Office in North Macedonia, MRT has been one of the largest debtors in the country in recent years.
The financing model was changed in 2018, newly introduced legal provisions stating that MRT is to be funded by a state subsidy that is the equivalent of a certain percentage of the country’s general budget. Before, the broadcaster was mainly funded through revenues from a monthly license fee of €3. The ineffective collection of the fee prompted the authorities to change the model. Between 2018 and 2019, the budget allocation ranged between 0.8% and 1% of the total state budget, an average of €25m a year, according to a study.
The LAAVMS, the MRT Statute and its Code of Ethics put forward a number of responsibilities and obligations regarding MRT’s programming, yet none of them is a guarantee of the broadcaster’s editorial independence.In spite of a series of attempts to reform the MRT’s governance and funding model, the broadcaster continues to have the reputation of political bias. The station was repeatedly criticized by international organizations for its biased coverage of elections.