Authorities do not give up from taking over public broadcaster

Announced discussion on initiative for dismissal of Director General of RTCG, Andrijana Kadija, re-confirms the intention of DPS to return RTCG under its absolute control, and halt its transformation into public service, despite warnings from European Union.

We remind that systemic, continuous and so far unheard-of attacks on RTCG started with unlawful dismissals of two members of the Council, Goran Djurovic and Nikola Vukcevic, in December last year. Illegal dismissals of two members of the Council, which were technically carried out by the Administrative Committee, led by MPs of DPS, Ljuidj Skrelja and Marta Scepanovic, have clearly demonstrated that DPS chooses no means to ‘cleanse’ the RTCG from those who are disobedient to them and re-convert this media into a party bulletin. For this purpose, individuals have been installed in the Council who are direct executors of orders from the authorities with a translucent tactic of multi-month undermining of the management authority, interfering the RTCG functioning and, ultimately voting for dismissal of Director General.

New RTCG management, headed by Andrijana Kadija and Vladan Micunovic, followed the line of the opened reform process in the public service, regardless of all resistance that they experience internally and pressures that are trying to be imposed from the outside. This does not suit DPS and the Government, since DPS and the Government accept exclusively subordinate institutions, organisations and individuals without integrity, ready to carry out illegal acts for the benefit of the ruling party without any objections. One of these is a member of the Council, Mimo Draskovic, who confirms his loyalty to DPS by also attending the conventions of this party, and who finally submitted the several-months-announced initiative to dismiss the Director General, and thus fulfilled his role in this body.

In previous months, the work of RTCG has been actively obstructed also by the Government of Montenegro, which has postponed the signing of the Public Service Provision Agreement between the Government and the RTCG, as well as the approval of the Collective Agreement of RTCG, also noted with concern in the EC Report as part of the political pressures.

Dismissal of Andrijana Kadija would confirm that DPS and the Government will not allow building of institutions without party influence, that they are determined to directly derogate all institutions which make any step towards independence, as well as that they do not give space to anyone with integrity to do their job in a managerial position, namely, that they are consciously shattering all pillars on which the functional rule of law should rest.

By dismissal of Kadija, the authorities would open up the space for the European Commission to seriously consider activating the balance clause, as substantial improvement should be required on the rule of law and before technical talks on other chapters of the accession negotiations can be provisionally closed, wherein freedom of the media and expression is one of the important issues. The EC Report states, inter alia: ‘Initial positive developments on RTCG’s editorial independence and professionalism were challenged by instances of undue political interference and political pressure on its Council’, with the overall assessment that Montenegro made no progress in the reporting period and expressed concern about the situation in RTCG. Therefore precisely, dismissal of Kadija would represent a demonstration of force and power at the expense of the rule of law which calls upon the balance clause far stronger than the recommendation of four NGOs did.

Ana Novakovic, Executive Director, Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organisations (CDNGO)
Daliborka Uljarevic, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Stevo Muk, President of MB, Institute Alternative (IA)
Zlatko Vujovic, President of MB, Center for Monitoring and Research (CeMI)