Almost 45 percent of Macedonian journalists receive a salary lower than the state average, which amounts to 22.808 denars. This was demonstrated by a new survey conducted by the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM) conducted in July and August this year using the online service Survey Monkey.
SSNM consulted 127 media workers, about 80 percent of whom work as journalists, and the rest are editors, photo reporters, cameramen or other technical persons who are engaged in the media.
When percentages are converted into numbers, it turns out that exactly 57 media workers out of 127 who completed the SSNM survey receive a salary lower than 22,000 denars.
Although 45 percent are below the average, another 40 percent of the interviewed journalists and media workers, or a total of 51 of the respondents, have a salary that ranges between the average and 30,000 denars.
If these two percentages are put together, it turns out that 85 percent of the people in the media business in Macedonia do not penetrate the 500-euro border with their salary, that is, their income alone is not enough to cover the consumer basket of a family of four, which is about 32,000 denars and which covers the minimum needs of a family.
The dramatic situation, among other things, is the result of the decades-old agony of the media which the former ruling VMRO-DPMNE either controlled or attacked with all means available.
This political boot has left behind large media corporations, without serious and experienced journalists and media workers, who left due to rough political pressures, leaving behind young and inexperienced workers who are easier to control and, normally, even less paid.
The remaining media, however, were barely surviving, because the market was controlled by the same political set, which had all the power concentrated in its hands. There was no money from government advertisements for “disobedient” media, including that from business who did not want to be on bad terms with the government for their advertising in non-partisan media
And as the money was draining out from the critical media, journalists either left or had to settle for low salaries and an insecure job, without pension and health insurance.
The SSNM survey also gives an answer to the question of how many journalists now have a guaranteed job, and how many are employed on fixed-term agreements or as freelancers.
The data are worrying because more than half or about 54 percent of media workers and journalists are not permanently employed, that is, they do not have fixed-term contracts – 35 percent are employed on fixed-term basis and 19 percent are engaged as freelancers, which means that every employee in the media can be fired at any moment.
This survey also shows the trend that TV and online media are the biggest employers at the moment: as many as 82 percent of all respondents answered that they were employed in television (47%) or in some of the portals (35%), which is due to the fact that this year the three daily newspapers of “Media Print Macedonia” (MPM) – “Dnevnik”, “Utrinski” and “Vest” were closed, with “Spic”, “Vreme”, “Dnevni Fokus” and ” Den ” having closed several years ago. No new media have been opened in the meantime and journalists shifted mainly to the Internet.
Out of 127 respondents, only 10 work in print media, while seven are in the radio.
Considering that the employment in TV and portals is really dominant, we will make a detailed analysis and comparison of the incomes they provide.
In the online media, there are significantly more media workers with monthly incomes below the national average. If the general picture shows that in all media this percentage is about 45 percent, almost 57 percent of the journalists take a salary lower than 22.808 denars, or in absolute numbers that is 25 out of 44 respondents.
On the other hand, this percentage is far lower in TV stations, only 36 percent of respondents said they received a salary below 22,000.
The portals also rate badly in the category of workers who receive monthly income higher than the average salary but less than 30,000 denars. Thus, if in general this percentage is 40 in the media, it is about 30 in the portals or only 12 out of 44 respondents.
Here television again raises the general percentage because 45 of their employees receive a salary higher than 22,000 and 30,000 denars.
Simply put, compared to the average taken out of all media and compared to the situation in television, there are more workers in the portals with a salary below the average, and less with monthly income between 22,000 and 30,000 denars, which clearly indicates that the workforce in the online media is underestimated.
As far as security of the workplace is concerned, online media are in a subordinate role.
The survey found that, in general, about 54 percent of workers in the media do not have permanent employment agreements; with portals this percentage is slightly higher and is 56, while in television this group of employees is expectedly smaller and is about 50 percent.