MACEDONIA – In a move that is expected to dramatically alter Macedonia’s largest broadcaster, the management of state-controlled network Macedonian Radio Television (MRTV) is about to submit a media reform plan to the republic’s parliament.
According to the network’s director general Gordana Stosic, the reform package will call for employee cuts of up to 1,570 personnel in a bid to cover the network’s $13 million budgetary deficit. To reach this downsizing goal, the network will offer early retirement to long-time employees and pink slips to newcomers.
Balkan media analysts admit that MRTV has been ailing for years. Critics state that over the past five years employees have had to wait up to two months for their salaries, contractors have had to wait over a year for payment, and no investments have been made in technology.
Network sources say MRTV’s financial woes stem from unpaid subscription fees, which is currently running up to $21 million in the red. Due to the ethnic unrest and looming civil war that has plagued this broadcast territory since 2000, entire communities are neglecting to pay subscription fees.