By the decision of the RTCG Council on the suspension of live TV broadcasts of the sessions of the Parliament until the day of the election, the RTCG dismissed the possibility of objective and timely information about some of the key issues on the agenda of the Parliament of Montenegro. This decision of the current management is another confirmation of RTCG’s closedness to the pluralism of opinion, as indicated by numerous relevant domestic and international reports.
Today, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) sent a letter to the President of the RTCG Council, Ivan Jovetić, with the question: according to which legal provisions and regulations did the RTCG Council decide to stop broadcasting sessions of the Parliament of Montenegro when the electoral lists have not been confirmed yet?
RTCG’s previous practice was to suspend transmission as soon as the electoral lists were confirmed. The Law on Election of Councilors and Deputies, as well as the Rules on RTCG coverage of the Content of the Pre-Election Campaign for the Parliamentary Elections from October 2016 stipulate that on the right of the electoral list’s to be presented on RTCG programmes starts on the day of validation of these lists. Hence, at this moment, that right cannot be used by opposition structures that participate in the work of the Parliament, which automatically puts them in disadvantaged position as compared to the ruling structure, which gets huge coverage on RTCG through the activities of officials.
The RTCG Council is obliged to publicly explain why and in whose interest it made such a decision, and additionally bearing in mind that the agenda of the Parliament of Montenegro is full of key laws for reform processes and fulfilling commitments on the road to the EU. Very importantly, the general public will, in this way, be deprived of the live broadcast of the debate on the proposals of the Law on National Public Broadcaster Radio and Television of Montenegro and the Media Law. Also, this comes when Montenegro faces never worse rating on international lists which measure media freedoms.
The latest decision of the RTCG Council is closings the door to all citizens of Montenegro who have the right to be informed of the views of their elected representatives, both positional and oppositional in the Parliament of Montenegro, on important topics. Finally, this decision of the members of the RTCG Council and its management does not contribute to the improvement of the already bad image of RTCG, as stated in numerous reports, including the latest Non-Paper of the European Commission.
Damir NIKOČEVIĆ, Development Coordinator