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Speeches Shim

May 5, 2022

Despite progress in some areas of media development, the media sector in the Western Balkans remains fragile and under threat. Weak economies and long periods of the political capture of media and advertising markets have left independent media, particularly online outlets, unable to compete with the entertaining, yet biased, pro-government news outlets. Media are also challenged to collect and analyze demographic and audience interest data, which hinders effective business strategies that create monetized products and services to expand audience reach. Public trust in media continues to be low and audiences are increasingly unable to get information on issues that affect their daily lives. Further, as journalists often lack access to technology and have limited skills to use it, they struggle to produce multimedia material, such as infographics or videos, through which they can provide balanced information that the average media consumer can use. To address these issues, USAID contributes to North Macedonia’s efforts to increase the accountability of government institutions and of citizens, as well as their ability to counter corruption, by strengthening independent media.

May 5, 2022

The primary objectives of the Balkan Media Assistance Program (BMAP) are to: 1) provide outlets and media partners with more substantial and stable resources to operate as viable enterprises by introducing new management, business, and operational models; 2) strengthen the ability of content producers to engage wider audiences and expand reach across different demographic groups; and 3) foster stronger partnerships to advance solutions on common challenges in the digital space.

May 5, 2022

Since 2018, North Macedonia has been ranked among the European countries which are least resilient to malign influence from disinformation campaigns. This leads to societal divisions, lack of trust, polarization, and reduced social cohesion. At the same time, there is recognition that to become involved in and contribute to democratic processes, all citizens— especially youth— should have highly developed media literacy and critical thinking skills as a foundation for active participation in society. USAID contributes to North Macedonia’s efforts to empower youth to take an active role in the country’s development.

May 5, 2022

The program enables youth to distinguish high-quality, fact-based information from that which is biased, poorly researched, false, or malign. The program integrates critical information engagement and media literacy competencies in the country’s primary and secondary school curricula in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science, the Bureau for Development of Education, and higher education institutions, including pre- and in-service teacher training institutions and journalism schools.

May 5, 2022

The mobilization of people and resources to address priority issues consistently emerges as a pressing need in Roma communities. Roma remain the most marginalized ethnic group in North Macedonia. Many government strategies and programs aimed at addressing various Roma issues have not produced the expected positive effects on Roma lives. Roma primarily live in segregated communities often lacking the basic infrastructure for quality life, such as paved roads, electricity, water supply, and sewage systems. USAID contributes to North Macedonia’s efforts to promote inclusivity, improve economic security and growth, engage youth in social and economic opportunities, and increase local governments’ responsiveness and accountability to citizens. A fundamental principle for success is local ownership and amplifying local capacity to achieve results.

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Last updated: May 05, 2022

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