Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses concern over decision of Government of Montenegro to place the Agency for Electronic Media (AEM), an independent regulator for electronic media which exercises public jurisdiction in accordance with the Law on Electronic Media and operates in the public interest, under its direct control, as it was defined by new proposal of Law on State Administration.
At the session of the Government of Montenegro from 20/9/2018 a proposal of the Law on State Administration was determined by which in the Article 43, for the first time are introduced State agencies and it is prescribed that they are directly responsible for their work to the Government of Montenegro, while the Article 44 enhances this by determining that the Government elects and dismisses members of councils of state agencies. We support the systemic approach of regulation of state administration, which certainly opens up a space for greater level of coordination over the already existing agencies. However, AEM due to its importance, role and position in the system must not be treated in this manner and put in the same rank with the other agencies. Additionally, this solution is in contradiction with the principles of functioning of regulators in the media, and also the EU Directive on Audio-visual Media Services (AVMSD) which is due to be adopted soon, and which Montenegro is obliged to assume and apply, as a part of its regular obligations within the negotiation process.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and Coalition for RECOM have organised today, on the occasion of International Day of Peace, a debate under topic Dialogue and reconciliation – where are we now in the region?.
On this occasion, Daliborka Uljarevic, CCE Executive Director, assessed that ‘wars waged on the territory of former Yugoslavia in 90-is do not have winners and losers as an outcome, each of the sides has their own certain truth about those wars, and political expressions even today suffer more or less from consequences of these conflicts.’ She reminded also that Initiative for RECOM in Montenegro had a continuous political support. ‘This support to RECOM from the highest political level in Montenegro is a serious capital which should be further valorised, since in the contrary it will not value much. In this regard, I believe that Montenegro can and should take up an even more proactive role in the region especially taking into consideration its good positioning among neighbours and the fact that this an issue which goes beyond the borders of solely one political and social structure, that this is an issue which exceeds particular interests. It is indisputably a public interest both of Montenegro, and the region as well, to establish the RECOM’, concluded Uljarevic.
On the occasion of International Day of Democracy – 15 September, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) noted an ever more visible democratic deficit and ever more unfavourable environment for development of democratic values and standards in Montenegro.
The continuing internal crisis – political and economic one – are weakening the capacity of Montenegrin society to, via dialogue, cooperation and, where possible, consensus – reach a solution for the public interest, precisely whilst some of the most demanding reform activities have to be carried out. Instead of developing democratic political culture, we have the so called facade democracy – proclamation of the state as a democratic one, although it is only a ‘cover’ for abuse of public powers and resources, strengthening corruptive clientelistic networks, concerning narrowing of the space for argued social criticism, irresponsible ethno-political appearances and essential neglect for citizens’ safety in a society in which organized criminal groups are increasingly showing that they are more powerful than institutions.
NGOs Human Rights Action (HRA), Center for Civic Education (CCE) and Center for Women and Peace Education (ANIMA) submitted today to the Prime Minister and ministers of internal affairs and culture, as well as the President of the City Administration of Herceg Novi, the initiative for raising a memorial to the victims of 1992 war crime deportation of refugees in Herceg-Novi, hence supporting also the wish of the families of deported victims.
In May and June 1992, at least 66 Bosnian Muslim civilians were illegally arrested on the territory of Montenegro and handed over to their enemies, Bosnian Serbs, in the war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only 12 of them managed to survive torture in concentration camps. The refugees deprived of their liberty were, as a rule, brought to the Police (Security Center) in Herceg Novi, which served as a gathering centre, wherefrom on 25 May one group was transported by bus to a concentration camp in Foča, and another bus on 27 May to an unknown location in eastern Bosnia, where most of them were killed. The place where the victims deported from Herceg Novi on 27 May 1992 were killed remains unknown as well as the remains of most victims.
In 2011, HRA, CGO, ANIMA and former President of the Council for Civilian Control of Police Aleksandar Saša Zeković, filed three initiatives for establishing a Day of Remembrance for the victims of the crime of deportation of refugees, for a memorial to the victims and for an apology of the Montenegrin police for abuse of police powers during the deportation of refugees, but, unfortunately, to date not one initiative has been accepted.
Coalition Cooperation to the Goal, which consists of 100 NGOs, has sent a letter to the Prime Minister more than a month ago with the call upon the Ministry of Finance and the Government of Montenegro to fulfil their legal obligations and to adopt the Regulation on co-financing of EU projects for domestic non-governmental organisations. After more than a month, the Coalition did not receive any feedback, which confirms the negative attitude of the Government towards the NGO, which is culminating in the current year. Apart from not fulfilling legal obligations with regard to NGOs and making it difficult for a large number of organizations to perform their work, the Government, by ignoring completely the requests and letters, also openly shows the intolerance towards the non-governmental sector.
The draft of this Regulation was a subject of a public discussion even in July 2017, and after more than a year it is clear that there is not even one reason, except for obvious political reason, that its adoption is being postponed thus much.
All projects supported in calls for NGOs by the EU in Montenegro, and for which co-financing is required, relate to resolving key issues in the field of the rule of law and human rights in Montenegro, which are, at least declarative, the Government’s priorities. If this was the case, the Government would timely adopt the Regulation on co-financing and allow unhindered implementation of NGO projects. Obviously, the rule of law and human rights for the Government are a priority only if the public administration is dealing with them. Avoiding the adoption of the Regulation directly points out to an attempt to exclude any other actor, and in particular NGOs, that deal with these issues.