Digital technologies pushing government authorities to develop new strategies and participatory policy making processes

Credit: Yane Naumoski

We have to redefine the notion of culture in the new digital environment”, says Aljosha Simjanovski, a director at the Macedonian television.

Mr. Simjanovski’s concern reflects the current state of the thriving audiovisual sector in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where activities such as filmmaking, broadcasting, publishing and sound recordings are increasingly switching from traditional media to digital platforms.

Considering that the audiovisual sector accounts to close to 10% of the national economy, even the Macedonian Minister of Culture, Borche Nokolovski, acknowledges the importance of understanding how digital technology impacts the sector: “there’s a recognized need for a new mapping, one that demonstrates new results regarding the changes incurred in a technological sense”.

In order to help fully address this pressing need, the School of Journalism and Public Relations (SJPR), with the support from UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), developed and implemented a threefold project: a comparative analysis to show the importance of the audiovisual sector within the field of the creative industries; a mapping study to provide an overview of the initiatives and policies implemented so far for strengthening the creative industries sector; and a conference to present and debate the results of the comparative analysis and the mapping study.

All three parts of the project were successfully completed by February 2014 and they all reinforced the importance of digital technology in the country’s creative industries sector.

Digital technology has made a huge increase in the number of media and platforms through which creative content is transmitted to users. This encourages market players to adapt and develop new business models aimed at producing audiovisual content for multiple media”, concluded Saso Bogdanovski and Snezana Trpevska, authors of the mapping study “Measuring the Economic Contribution of the Audiovisual Industry in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

Zaneta Trajkoska, director of the SJPR, adds: “one of the key conclusions from our project was that digital technologies are pushing the policy makers to coordinate themselves, to work together with the industries and with the academic community in order to develop a new comprehensive strategy for the entire audiovisual sector”.

In other words, digital technology is also helping to establish a network of representatives from public institutions, civil society and cultural operators working in the audiovisual industry.

In that sense, this project also fosters an inclusive and participatory policy making process: “in my opinion, the continuation of this project will encourage institutions, the stakeholders in the industry and the government authorities to undertake concrete measures that are required to move the industry in the desired direction, in order to have an even greater contribution for all concerned parties”, says Bisera Jordanovska, director of the national TV station “Alsat-M” and member of the Association of National TV stations.

Finally, the project also concluded that there are still much to be done, for example encouraging entrepreneurship, teaching audiovisual skills, as well as creating funds for financial stimulation of the sector. To address these needs, an Action plan has been devised and approved by all of the stakeholders and concerned parties that participated in the conference held in February 2014.

This means that, with every single one of the participants committed to the future work activities proposed by this Action plan, the future of the audiovisual sector in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia looks incredibly promising.

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