The government of North Macedonia has taken up the fight against fake news following the widespread expansion of this phenomenon, and especially since in the last election various fake news cycles began to spawn in North Macedonia that damaged the processes and created discord and tension in the society, but especially after the “prank” that the Russian comedians, posing as the Ukrainian prime minister, did to the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. Although the Government’s ideas are only initial and are still to be elaborated, the Government’s plan is to create safe and proactive measures that will generally look like this…

Among the so-called security measures are:

  • Revision of the internal security communication protocols in the institutions and with the external entities in order to reduce the possibilities for leakage of sensitive information

  • Introducing digital communications security protocols for all civil servants for safe use of the internet, official emails and official mobile phones

  • Strengthening the internal IT infrastructure in the Government and the ministries in order to prevent external attacks on the infrastructure

  • Establishment of a protocol for crisis communication between the Government and the ministries is envisaged in order to quickly counter the disinformation spread through the social networks and the internet portals

The so-called proactive measures, among other things, will include:

  • Establishing of an Action Group in order to fight disinformation

This group will include representatives from the offices of the Prime Minister, the President of the State and the Assembly, from the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Technical Operating Agency, the Intelligence Agency and other institutions that will monitor and analyze disinformation in the public and will coordinate the fight against this news and the spread of disinformation.

The group will be coordinated by the Minister of Transparency and Accountability Robert Popovski and the office of the Public Relations Advisor to the Prime Minister, Marjan Zabrcanec. The group will conduct an educational campaign on the harmful impact of disinformation, collaborate with fact-checking organizations and keep a register of sources that spread disinformation, and will stimulate a debate on establishing media standards for internet portals in line with the Recommendations of the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

The Government will also initiate the process of developing a National Media Literacy Strategy that will include activities of the institutions, the media and the civil sector, as well as the inclusion of media literacy in the educational process.

 Albania has drafted a package of legislative changes to fight fake news

Although North Macedonia is still debating the form of the strategy to fight fake news, neighboring Albania has already drafted a law, which passed the session of the Albanian government earlier this month. Severe penalties are foreseen for the portals that publish lies, that are predicted as fines or closing of the portal.

So, if a media outlet in Albania publishes fake news, it will be fined with a sum of 800 to 8,000 euros.

The media must give space to persons subjects to their news to make a denial, or else they will face fines from over 6, or around 7,000 euros.

According to the draft law, the media owners, including the portals, must publish an impressum, that is, to name the authors of the texts, to name who is the editor and who is the owner in a prominent place, in order to allow the damaged party the right to appeal false news or a slander. But they will need to state clearly what are their sources of funding.

Auditors of the Authority of Media Audit (AMA) will pronounce the fines. In addition to the penalties, the AMA will have the right to block the portal that will publish fake news.

 Measures envisaged by the ‘fake news package’ for blocking and deleting portals

 – Suspending/blocking the portal with a duration of 24 hours, if 3 fake news are published during one calendar year.

– Suspension/blocking of the portal with a duration of 7 days, if within one calendar year more than 4 texts with false content were published.

– Suspending/blocking of the portal for a year if it publishes over 5 fake news.

– Complete blocking or closure of the portal will occur if they do not consider the complaints submitted to them four times in a row in one calendar year.

But all these measures are still unapproved, as the package is still in a drafting phase and may undergo changes.

The draft law, besides penalizing the media and the portals for publishing untrue news and forcing them to register, also requires strict rules about the advertising and the funding sources.







This project was funded in part through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the implementers/authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government.


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