We commend an agreement that was reached yesterday on a meeting between representatives of the Government of Montenegro and RTCG, regarding signing of the Agreement on Provision of Public Broadcasting Services 2018-2020.
However, the public has a right to objective information thus it needs to be specified that it is not a correct information which was published yesterday by Directorate for Media and Public Relation Service of the Government of Montenegro that ‘representatives of the Government headed by Minister of Culture Aleksandar Bogdanovic and representatives of Radio and Television of Montenegro headed by President of the Council Dr Vladimir Pavicevic fully agreed the text of the agreement and agreed to deliver the harmonised document to the Government under envisaged procedure as soon as possible’.
Only the Council of RTCG may give consent to the text of the agreement and everything that has been agreed upon has no substantial importance if it is not confirmed within formal bodies of RTCG and Government itself. Therefore, a fact remains that the said agreement is not signed even after several months, precisely as we have emphasized in our statement.
Government of Montenegro and its services should hold onto facts and not spread fake news, and instead of polemics with non-governmental organizations they should finally bring this job to the end and unblock all agreements affecting functionality of RTCG over which a pressure on RTCG is trying to be exerted.
Directorate for Media and Public Relation Service have dedicated a significant part of their reaction to painting some sort of positive atmosphere from the aforementioned meeting and unsustainable allegations at the expense of non-governmental organizations that we are leading. These unnecessary and digressive details are not of public interest. However, public interest is for Government to sign the Agreement on Provision of Public Broadcasting Services 2018-2020, as well as to approve the collective agreement of RTCG. We will also persistently remind Government of these obligations, and introduce the public with abuses of mechanism of authority for the account of party interest.
Directorate for Media and Public Relation Service have not by any word challenged accusations that Government is influencing exercise of rights of employees and functioning of RTCG due to refusal to sign a collective agreement of RTCG. Collective agreement was submitted by management of RTCG to the Government for approval four months ago, which is an undeniable fact. We have already pointed out the absurdity of Government’s reasoning that they could not approve this agreement until new Labour Law is passed. It is also interesting that this principle the Government applies solely for collective agreement of RTCG while the same Government is simultaneously hurriedly working on collective agreements of other subjects, which could also not slip past the stakeholders.
Furthermore, we did not get an explanation from Directorate for Media and Public Relation Service of Government of Montenegro on why Government is not sending its highest representatives in the prime time shows on RTCG. Instead of futile attempt to obscure facts, Public Relation Service of Government of Montenegro should be advising Prime Minister and members of Government to undertake obligations towards the public which they should be informing on their work and their arguments with those who do not think alike, instead of subordinating this obligation to party directive.
Government should be doing its job, as the Parliament of Montenegro and Agency for Prevention of Corruption should be doing theirs, and interested public will easily assess effects of that work. Thus, Government shall demonstrate that is it ceasing with pressure towards RTCG by which it had already seriously harmed the state interests by unblocking these two agreements and presenting its work responsibly on public service of RTCG via its highest representatives.
Ana Novakovic, Executive Director, Centre for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations (CDNGO)
Daliborka Uljarevic, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Stevo Muk, President of MB, Institute alternative (IA)
Zlatko Vujovic, President of MB, Centre for Monitoring and Research (CEMI)