One cannot enter EU without the media freedom

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) condemns last night’s latest in a series of attacks on property of the independent daily “Vijesti” and warns of the already alarming consequences of inadequate processing of previous attacks, as well as intensifying of the hostile climate towards media and individuals who criticize (in)formal centres of power in Montenegro.

This attack occurred only a day after publication of two very worrying assessments by relevant international organizations regarding the state of media freedom in Montenegro. It demonstrates all the arrogance of those who obviously have reason to believe that they will remain unpunished by responsible authorities, and that they may even enjoy their direct protection. It seems as this attack was supposed to declare: “all reports and appeals from international and local NGOs are worthless, we will continue to destroy you”.

The report of Reporters without Borders (RSF) states that safety of journalists continues to be a major concern when it comes to Montenegro, there has been a further decline in the Press Freedom Index, so Montenegro is now placed at 114 place, which is distancing us significantly from developed democratic countries and bringing us closer to authoritarian and mafia regimes. A text of a senior official of the Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ) gives warnings starting from the very title, “The EU should control Montenegro: Wild West for media freedom”.

The inability of institutions to deal with organized attacks on journalists raises again the question: Do Montenegrin authorities really want the country to be a member of the EU? Daily drawing target to opponents by the authorities or circles close to the authorities, with attacks that have become more frequent, indicates that in those structures of government that have the real levers of power begins to dominate a decision to pull the brake in a drive to the EU. And this reality cannot be denied by their statements.

Svetlana Pešić, Programme Associate