Pressures on the media have never been stronger

On the occasion of the Day of Journalists of Montenegro, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) notes that Montenegrin journalists have never been in a more difficult situation and under stronger pressures that are limiting their work. The CCE expresses solidarity with efforts of all those social actors who are trying to change this for the better.

Montenegro has from 2013 come out with the most serious and dangerous attack on the redaction of «Vijesti», and entered in 2014 with the brutal physical attack on journalist of the «Dan». In addition, journalists of the Montenegrin media are working under the burden of other numerous and unsolved attacks on life and property of their colleagues, as well as on the redactions themselves. To this there should also be added the climate of persecution against all those who in other manners – by using the right to freedom of expression, criticize the government and (in)formal centres of power. It is clear that in such a situation degradation of the profession itself occurs, as well as intolerable restrictions in work and increasingly difficult existential status of employees in the media.

In the latest Progress Report for Montenegro 2013 the European Commission has assessed that in addition to the increase in the number of attacks on journalists, the additional serious concern is also “…involvement of the public officials, in particular police officers, in cases of intimidation and assaults against journalists“. Also, all relevant international reports have noted a decline of the level of freedom of expression in Montenegro.

On this occasion, the CCE calls upon the responsible authorities to urgently and professionally investigate and prosecute all previous attacks on journalists and media, in order to create the basic conditions for unhindered work of journalists, and development of investigative journalism, as well as to ensure full freedom of expression, especially when it implies criticism of those who govern institutions, as it is the case in democratic countries.

The Day of Journalists of Montenegro is celebrated on 23 January, the day when the gazette “Crnogorac” was publicized in 1871 as the first Montenegrin newspaper.

Svetlana Pešić, Programme Associate