The Zaev Government approved payments totaling more than 42.560.000 denars (700.000 EUR) to newspapers, in a move which is widely seen as buying their favorable coverage. The move is excused as helping media outlets which are technologically out of date and face being shut down, but it comes only a few short years after the now ruling SDSM party was loudly denouncing the Government for even purchasing ad space in news outlets to promote tolerance or anti-corruption campaigns, let alone approve such bloc transfers of money.

The biggest recipient by far is Sloboden Pecat, a newspaper very close and supportive of the Zaev Government, with 14.277.000 denars. It was already criticized for receiving money from the openly corrupt program initiated by the Innovations Fund, under which companies owned by SDSM members of Parliament, or Government advisors and journalist close to SDSM received tens and even hundreds of thousands of euros for coming up with alleged “innovations”.

Fokus, a political weekly also supportive of the Government, received 4,62 million denars, while daily Vecer, which was very criticial of SDSM, but is now altering its editorial policy, got 7,25 million.