Media reported the most about local elections in Cetinje, polarization remains

During campaign for local elections in Cetinje, Mojkovac and Petnjica, the Montenegrin media reported the most about Cetinje elections, while the election campaign should be extended in order to enable citizens to get as realistic a picture as possible of the options available to them.

This was pointed out by research of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) presented today at the ‘SPINoFACT conference – Political advertising between spin and facts’.

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Western Balkans Leaders Appoint Personal Envoys for Drafting of the Agreement on the Establishment of RECOM

The Presidents of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo, and the Bosniak Member of the Presidency of BiH, have appointed Personal Envoys, who will, together with the Coalition for RECOM, prepare a draft Agreement on the Establishment of RECOM.

The Envoy of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, is Tanja Jovic, Foreign Affairs Advisor to the President of Serbia; the Envoy of the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovic, is Professor Sonja Tomovic Sundic PhD, Advisor to the President of Montenegro for Human and Minority Rights; the Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov’s Envoy is Ilija Isajlovski, a career diplomat and a member of the Cabinet of the President of Macedonia; the Envoy of the President of Kosovo, Hashim Taci, is Ardian Arifaj, a Political Advisor to the Kosovo President, and the Envoy of the BiH Presidency Member, Bakir Izetbegovic, is Elvir Camdzic, an expert on international relations and the Head of the Cabinet of the Bosniak Member of the BiH Presidency. »

Completed VIII FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival 2017

By screening of films The Unforgiven, of Danish director Lars Feldballe-Petersen and A Man of Integrity, of Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof in Cinema Boka in Kotor, last night was completed eighth edition of FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival 2017, under slogan QUESTIONING BORDERS, that was organized by Centre for Civic Education (CCE), in cooperation with partners.

FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival, now already a tradition, was opened at the International Day of Human Rights, 10 December in CIC ‘Budo Tomovic’ in Podgorica. On this occasion, awards were given for affirmation of human rights and civic activism to an informal civic initiative for preservation of Boka – Bokobran, in the category of organization, and post-humously to Milan Saranovic, in the category of individual.

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European Commission to call Government and Parliament to respect Law on RTCG

We invite the European Commission to, more vigorously than so far, call upon Government of Montenegro and Parliament of Montenegro to respect the letter and spirit of the Law on public broadcasting services of RTCG.

Proceedings, from mostly bizarre reasons that are formal in nature, that in urgent procedure lead to resolvement in such a Parliament refer to the members of the Council who have indicated a certan level of resistance and contributed to RTCG making first significant steps on the path to establishing a truly public service.

Proposal of the Union of Employers that, on behalf of them, a member of Council of RTCG becomes director of a state enterprise, a party official for decades, basically until yesterday a councillor of Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and member of Municipal Committee of DPS in Bar, testifies of proportions of party control over various segments of Montenegrin society on detriment of public interest.

Continuous restriction of space for action and influence of critically oriented non-governmental organizations, campaign against Council of RTCG, suspension of work of professional organizations – are only a tip of the iceberg of a systematic resistance of this government to every alternative in the society and the country, which in no manner corresponds to current phase in the negotiation process of Montenegro with the EU, or to the rhetorical advocacy for democratization of society.

Ana Novakovic, Executive Director, Centre for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations (CDNGO)

Daliborka Uljarevic, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education (CCE)

Vanja Calovic, Executive Director, Network for Affirmation of Non-Governmental Sector (MANS)

Stevo Muk, President of MB, Institute Alternative (IA)

Zlatko Vujovic, President of MB, Centre for Monitoring and Research (CEMI)

Who and why abolishes public discussions on key regulations

The Government of Montenegro, without public discussion, in a secret process and without any involvement of the public, passed the Amendments to the Law on State Administration. Amendments to the Law were determined at the session of 16 November 2017. Text of the amendments was not submitted for consideration even to the Public Administration Reform Council - an advisory body of the Government, which entirely paradoxically was precisely established in order to consider draft of regulations, strategic, planning and analytical documents in connection with public administration reform. The Law on State Administration is one of the key laws in the area of public administration reform.

With Amendments to the Law on State Administration, the Government has restricted implementation of public discussions ‘when the law, ie the strategy regulates issues in the area of defense and security and the annual budget; in emergency, urgent or unforeseeable circumstances; when the matter is not significantly regulated by law’. With this broad formulation, ministries have been given the opportunity to choose when to conduct a public discussion, namely, to avoid involvement of the public in the process of adopting acts of their choice.

Regarding the budget, the key reform document in this area, the Public Finance Management Reform Programme (integral part of the Public Administration Reform Strategy 2016-2020), has an objective to have greater openness and transparency of the state budget. The budget calendar defined by the Law on Budget and Fiscal Responsibility does not exclude possibility of a public discussion on the annual budget proposal, although the Ministry of Finance has not organized it so far. Instead of taking further steps in this direction, now another law is deemed to permanently provide public exclusion from the budget formulation process. We remind that public discussions on the budget of local self-governments are an explicit legal obligation, and that public discussion on the state budget is attempted to be explicitly prohibited by this proposal. Thus we come to a new paradox, which is that citizens are invited to participate in public budget discussions in their municipalities, while they are forbidden to participate in discussions on the state budget. It is obvious that the Government treats the state budget as a property that belongs to the Government, not to the citizens. »