Artificial intelligence – an enigma for macedonian media

Maja Blazevska Evrosimoska


Tales from the Region



While the world is fiercely debating the positive and negative impacts of the latest artificial intelligence systems, and the most influential media outlets are providing recommendations and guidelines for their use in the journalistic profession, this new technological revolution is still taboo in the Macedonian media outlets.

Following the emergence of the Internet and social media, the development of artificial intelligence is considered the third wave in technological development. As a relatively new phenomenon, anything related to artificial intelligence is considered a new skill. It has led to significant advancements in many areas, for example, in the way the news aggregates work, or the automatic translation of content into different languages. However, the use of artificial intelligence will inevitably lead to changing perspectives in the work of newsrooms.

With a few exceptions, the Macedonian media outlets are not still using artificial intelligence in their daily work and have not prepared guidelines and recommendations for their journalists and media workers regarding its possible use. No newsroom has a position regarding its use in the process of creating media content or in the work of the newsrooms.

To investigate what the Macedonian newsrooms think about this, we spoke with eleven editors-in-chief from the most influential media outlets.

"We don't use it and our standpoint is it should not be used," says one editor-in-chief of a portal.

However, the editors are confident in the importance of the topic and that the issue surrounding the use of artificial intelligence will be more and more relevant given the global trends and the process of regulation of this area which is currently ongoing in the European Union. "We are aware that we are becoming aware," says one of them.

According to the research carried out in December, editors-in-chief in influential Macedonian media outlets analyze the possibilities and benefits of the use of artificial intelligence in the media and consider how to get trained in using it and in which segments they could include it, for example, as a tool in the discovery of fake news or the archiving process.

Some of the Macedonian editors we talked to think that journalists should not rely on artificial intelligence as a tool for creating news without that product being checked by the editorial office.

The Media Information Agency (MIA), the largest state-owned news agency, says that they are working on providing training for editors, journalists and other media workers on the safe and correct use of artificial intelligence. They add that the trust of their users is the most important to them and, therefore, they carefully approach the introduction of novelties in their work. At the same time, they say that MIA publishes daily texts about new technologies and their application to contribute to the whole community, not only to the media community, for better information about digital and technological innovations, their use, and the protection of citizens from abuses.

Of all the editors that were interviewed, only one founder of a portal stated that he uses tools based on artificial intelligence for text generation and grammar checking. However, he says, he uses them with great caution and without fully relying on them. He indicates that some of these tools are still under development and can lead the work of the journalist in the wrong direction. He adds that what artificial intelligence will never achieve is to bring emotion to the surface, to tell the story through a prism through which only a human can.

World media outlets making pioneer steps

Some UK media outlets announced that their content was created with the help of artificial intelligence and that the editorial team was involved in that process. German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle already uses AI-based applications to analyze large databases for research or to translate articles, but journalists still perform quality control.

The attitude of the editorial team is that artificial intelligence can be used to better search the Internet search engines or to identify hate speech, but that journalists should always check the quality of that information. This media house says that generative artificial intelligence will not change the role of journalists.

Source: freepik.com

The Rulebook of one of the world's largest news agencies, the Associated Press, states that artificial intelligence tools cannot be used to create content for posting or for photos on their services. Content generated with the help of artificial intelligence should be carefully scrutinized, just like the content obtained from any other news source, and that is something that is crucial for protecting journalistic integrity.

For a decade, this news agency has been experimenting with simpler forms of artificial intelligence, for example, to create short business news or news with sports results.

Reuters news agency developed a tool that, with the help of artificial intelligence and algorithms, is used for noticing news on social media, and this especially applies to cases of extraordinary and breaking news. Algorithms look at a cluster of posts that refer to the same event and generate a ranking of whether and how important a news item is for publishing. However, Reuters journalists, using their own channels, independently verify the news before it is published. This tool gives them an edge over other agencies in the news publishing process.

The British public broadcaster BBC presented the three principles on which their approach to the use of generated artificial intelligence will be based. Their priorities are working in the best interest of the audience, delivering greater value, prioritizing talent and creativity, authentic and humane storytelling, and being open and transparent with audiences about the use of AI.

The British Public Service will soon launch several projects that will explore the use of artificial intelligence in the content they create and in the way they work.

Relying on artificial intelligence tools to create and distribute news without being verified by journalists can lead to the spread of disinformation, fake and bizarre news. That is the case with the American Internet portal owned by Microsoft: msn.com.

Relying on the use of artificial intelligence, a process for which journalists and editors were fired, the portal published completely false news, reports published by small portals for which there is no information on who is in their editorial policy, or in the news with inappropriate and strange headlines. Former editors of the portal say that this would never have happened if they had stayed in the work process.

European guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence

There is an awareness in the European Union, that the way artificial intelligence is approached will define the world in which we will live in the future, will help build a resilient Europe, and people and businesses will feel safe and protected.

The European Commission proposed three legal initiatives that should lead to the development of a trustworthy artificial intelligence: a European legal framework for artificial intelligence addressing fundamental rights and security risks, a framework for civil liability, the adaptation of the liability rules in the digital age, and the age of artificial intelligence, and a revision of the sectoral safety legislation.

In June 2023, the European Parliament adopted the negotiation position in terms of the artificial intelligence. The rules should ensure that AI developed and used in Europe is fully compliant with EU rights and values, including human supervision, security, privacy, transparency, non-discrimination, and social and economic well-being.

The theorists of communication sciences claim that the mass media take on the shape and color of certain social and political structures, and of the circumstances in which they operate.

The question of how artificial intelligence will be used must be part of the training of future journalists and media workers, of their education, in general, but also a goal of the activities undertaken in society to increase media literacy among students and the rest of the population.

Compliance with the ethical principles will have to be one of the pillars on which its inevitable inclusion in the work and adaptation of the newsrooms to new trends will be based.


The blog was created as part of the “Tales from the Region” initiative led by Res Publica and Institute of Communication Studies, in cooperation with partners from Montenegro (PCNEN), Kosovo (Sbunker), Serbia (Autonomija), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Analiziraj.ba), and Albania (Exit), within the project "Use of facts-based journalism to raise awareness of and counteract disinformation in the North Macedonia media space (Use Facts)" with the support of the British Embassy in Skopje.

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Maja Blazevska Evrosimoska

Maja Blazevska Evrosimoska is a journalist and a correspondent from Skopje for the regional television station Al Jazeera Balkans. She has worked in the editorial office in Sarajevo as a deputy news editor. Previously, she was part of the Macedonian language editorial staff of the BBC World Service. She received her doctorate in communication sciences at the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Sarajevo.