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North Macedonia

Citizen Participation in Assembly (MK0142)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Macedonia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Assembly of RM

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Media & Telecommunications, Open Parliaments, Sustainable Development Goals

IRM Review

IRM Report: North Macedonia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Fully functional Parliamentary TV channel
Start and end date of the commitment: January 2019 - December 2021
Lead implementing agency
Assembly of RM
Description of commitment
Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment
Insufficiently clear ownership rights on the parliamentary channel and archival recordings between the Assembly of RM and MTV. Lack of technical equipment and digitization of the studios. Lack of staff in the Sector for Support of the Parliamentary TV Channel. Lack of educational program for the Assembly on the Parliamentary TV channel. Non-connection of the Parliamentary TV channel with the E-Parliament
Main objective
Open Parliament
Brief description of the commitment
Reform of the Parliamentary TV channel.
OGP challenge addressed by the commitment
- Increasing public integrity
Additional information
Reference to Objective 16 "Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions" Target 16.6: Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. This commitment will contribute to increasing the openness of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia through reform and content improvement of the Parliamentary TV channel.
Milestones
2.2.1 Equiped TV studio
2.2.2 Defined program scheme
Contact information
Name of responsible person from implementing agency
Cvetanka Ivanova
Title, Department
Secretary General of the Assembly
Phone and e-mail
02/3112-255, sekretar@sobranie.mk

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Open Parliament II: Improved ICT Infrastructure

2.2. Fully functional Parliamentary TV channel

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [108]

Reform of the Parliamentary TV channel.

Milestones:

2.2.1 Equiped TV studio

2.2.2 Defined program scheme

Start Date: January 2019

End Date: December 2021

Context and Objectives

Commitments 2.1 and 2.2 aim to improve the Assembly of North Macedonia’s ICT infrastructure and the visibility of its online presence. Commitment 2.1 calls for the development of a new website for the Assembly and to increase the percentage of promotion of the Assembly’s events and activities on its social media networks from 30 percent to 60 percent. Commitment 2.2 plans to improve the parliamentary television channel’s coverage of parliamentary sessions by equipping the TV studio and defining a program scheme.

The Assembly’s website currently provides some information to the public including the text of the bills and schedules, and resolutions of committee meetings. For example, information about parliamentary staff and administration is available, including basic information on the education, skills, languages, and previous experience of parliamentary staff. [109] Also, archival access to audio and video records of Plenary Sessions is provided. [110] However, the current website is not user-friendly. Also, if an MP changes membership in a committee, this information needs be changed manually in all instances where it occurs. In addition, the website lacks a good search function, has limited information on MPs and their activities, and offers no open data. [111]

Currently, all of the Plenary Sessions are aired live on the Assembly’s television channel. This also applies on the Budget and Finance committee when the budget is adopted and discussed, but not for all other committee meetings. Most of the time, recordings of committee meetings are aired later and after they are finished. The Assembly’s television channel is funded by the Assembly and managed by an Assembly council, in which MPs from both governing and opposition parties participate. [112] However, according to the NDI representative, the Assembly television channel currently does not have a studio. So far, the Assembly has only provided the space within its building. It will be further developed into a studio with the necessary equipment. [113]

Both commitments are relevant to the OGP value of access to information as they aim to increase public awareness and understanding of the Assembly and MPs. The planned activities for both commitments are verifiable and, if implemented, could make the Assembly more transparent. For example, the creation of a new Assembly website with more detailed information on MPs and a better search function could address some of the deficiencies of the existing website and increase the amount of information on the Assembly that is available to the public. Also, equipping the Assembly’s new television channel and defining its program scheme could theoretically improve the overall transparency of the Assembly’s activities.

However, as written in the action plan, both commitments lack the necessary detail to assess their potential impacts as higher than minor. For example, it is unclear what specific information will be made available on the new website, and what the new television program scheme will entail. The actual impact of these activities will largely depend on how they are implemented, which is unclear from the descriptions in the action plan.

Next steps

The IRM recommends improving the design of future commitments by specifying the concrete steps to be carried out and the intended results from implementation. Additionally, future commitments should either improve public access to government-held information, open up possibilities for citizens to participate in decision making, or create mechanisms for the public to hold government accountable.

[108] Ibid.

[109] National Democratic Institute (NDI), Data-sharing and civic engagement in the Western Balkans, https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/2017%20Transparency%20Summary.pdf

[110] Ibid.

[111] Aleksandra Cvetkovska, National Democratic Institute, email correspondence with IRM, 21 January 2020.

[112] European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, Advancing public participation in the Macedonian Parliament, https://idscs.org.mk/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Ilina_EN.pdf

[113] Aleksandra Cvetkovska, National Democratic Institute, email correspondence with IRM, 21 January 2020.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership