Telecommunications in North Macedonia include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, telegraph and the Internet.
Television is North Macedonia's most popular news medium. Most private media are tied to political or business interests and state media tend to support the government. Public broadcast networks face stiff competition from commercial stations, which dominate the ratings. A European Union sponsored report says that with scores of TV and radio networks, the market is overcrowded and many local broadcasters are struggling to survive financially.
See also: Telephone numbers in North Macedonia
The combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership was about 130 per 100 persons in 2012. Competition from mobile-cellular phones has led to a drop in fixed-line telephone subscriptions.
The United States Agency for International Development sponsored a project called "Macedonia Connects" which in 2006 helped to make Macedonia the first all-broadband wireless country in the world, where Internet access is available to virtually anyone with a wireless-enabled computer. Wireless access is available to about 95% of the population, even those living in remote sheepherding mountain villages where people don't have phones. The Ministry of Education and Sciences reported that all 461 primary and secondary schools were connected to the Internet. An Internet Service Provider (On.net), created a MESH Network to provide WIFI services in the 11 largest cities/towns in the country.
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight. Individuals and groups engage in the peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press; however, the government does not always respect these rights in practice. The law prohibits speech that incites national, religious, or ethnic hatred, and provides penalties for violations. In November 2012 the defamation, libel and slander laws were decriminalized. Editors and media owners expressed concerns that steep fines under the revised law would cause self-censorship. The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, and the government generally respects these prohibitions in practice.
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