A new media law in Macedonia may reduce foreign television shows.
By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 26/12/12
Macedonian viewers can watch 560 to 610 minutes of Turkish television programming per day. [AFP]
Ajfer Mehmed, a 35-year-old housewife from Ohrid does not miss a single Turkish soap opera on TV.
"Everyone waits for the Turkish series to begin. At work, the main topics of discussion are the Turkish series and the latest episodes. Here in Macedonia there is not anything interesting on the TV, so people rely on these series," Mehmed told SETimes.
Macedonia television broadcasts from 560 to 610 minutes of Turkish shows per day.
But that could come to a halt under a new media draft law that gives priority to domestic television productions.
Under the new law, which was announced last month by Information Society Minister Ivo Ivanovski, 50 percent of Macedonian television programming must be domestically produced.
According to the information society ministry, the law is being drafted, and will be held up for a public debate.
But, the government said, the law has nothing to do with Macedonia's relationship with Turkey.
"We conduct many joint projects with our Turkish friends based on common values and interests, and that will continue in the future," Aleksandar Gjorgjievski, a government spokesman, told SETimes.
Gurol Sokmensuer, Turkish ambassador in Macedonia, said, however, no decision has been made to ban Turkish shows.
"These series … are accepted with pleasure by the people in the countries where they have been broadcasted," he told SETimes.
Mirce Adamcevski, former president of the Council for Radio, told SETimes that there is nothing wrong in broadcasting Turkish shows, because they are a reflection of what people want.
"Since the most [surveys] show that the citizens want to watch Turkish series, that means that the programmes are suitable for the needs of the viewers. That will go on until the moment when the people ask for something else," Adamcevski said.
"The Turkish series are a trend in Macedonia, [but] their prices are astronomical, with a tendency of further increase," Suncica Miljkovic from Tramiso Macedonia, the distributor of the Turkish shows, told SETimes.
"When it comes to the Turkish series, Macedonian television [channels] compete which one will pay more and will take more titles. We wonder how our market can take this," Miljkovic said.
Zaneta Trajkovska, from the School of Journalism and Public Relations in Skopje, said Macedonian television should produce more domestic shows, but that it may be difficult financially.
"A challenge for the media and Macedonian production is to show that they can create a good product," Trajkovska said.