Constitution is clear: The Court must prohibit future publishing of disputed content

The Court should render a decision on automatic ban on distribution of all future media content that violates human rights and freedoms, in order to prevent further endangering of dignity and integrity of daily newspaper “Informer”.

This has been requested in the initiative that was submitted by seventeen representatives of civil society to Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica and the Supreme State Prosecution today, which relies on fundamental constitutional principles of inviolability of dignity, safety, integrity and personal rights of all citizens.

On the Prosecution’s proposal, we expect that the Basic Court in Podgorica will comply with the Media Law this time, considering it in the context of the Constitution of Montenegro, which stipulates that, although everyone has the right to freedom of expression, this right is limited by the right to dignity, reputation and honor and in the event of threat to public moral.

The Court has ignored the identical request of signatories of initiative from June this year.

Articles of daily newspaper “Informer”, published on 27 and 28 October, referring to Ms Vanja Ćalović, represent a direct violation of human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. The initiative seeks to ban distribution of this already published content, but also of all related printed and audio-visual content that appears in the future.

In this manner, gross violations of human rights and freedoms would be prevented, but also timely response of institutions provided, in relation to irresponsibility and lack of professionalism of media and journalists.

Namely, freedom of expression must not be an excuse for publishing and distributing of content, which “Informer” is recently publishing, and which appeared on front pages of media a few months ago.

Damage that occurred by distribution of these issues can not be removed by “belated wisdom” of competent institutions, thereby the prosecution should propose to the court an automatic ban of distribution of all similar content, immediately upon their publication.

Initiative submitters warn that meaning of certain norms drawn out of the Media Law and their bringing in relation with the Constitution of Montenegro, leave to the prosecution opportunity to initiate such proposal before the competent court.

On this occasion, initiative submitters also require more active role of other institutions that have a mandate to stand up for all its citizens, and who for now have been silent on gross violations of human rights by the daily newspaper “Informer”.

In addition to violations of personal dignity and integrity, these violations include severe form of discrimination based on sex. However, although the Ombudsman according to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination is obliged to inform the public to severe forms of discrimination, Šućko Baković, Montenegrin Protector of human rights and freedoms, has not yet publicly condemned the severe discrimination against women in the disputed articles.

Signatories of the initiative:

Ana Novaković, Executive Director of the Centre for Development of NGO’s (CRNVO)
Biljana Zeković, Executive Director of the SOS phone line for women and children victims of violence Podgorica
Daliborka Uljarević, Executive Director of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Goran Đurović, President of Managing Board of NGO Coalition “Through the cooperation to the goal”
Hatidža Neljaj, Executive Director of the SOS phone line for women and children victims of violence Ulcinj
Ljupka Kovačević, Coordinator of the Centre for Peace and Women Education ANIMA
Ljiljana Raičević, Executive Director of the Shelter
Marijana Laković Drašković, Human rights expert
Maja Raičević, Executive Director of the Centre for Women Rights
Marina Vujačić, Executive Director of the Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro
Milan Šaranović, Director General of the Centre for Anti-Discrimination EKVISTA
Milenko Vojičić, Executive Director of the Association of Plegia Nikšić
Milka Tadić Mijović, Executive Director of weekly „Monitor“
Nataša Međedović, Executive Director of the SOS phone line for women and children victims of violence Nikšić
Slavica Striković, Executive Director of Women Action
Stevo Muk, President of the Managing Board Institute Alternative
Žarko Rakčević, Coordinator of Forum 2010