Ministry of Culture persistent in implementing a decision contrary to the public interest

A group of non-governmental organizations, which over the past weeks publicly pointed out the illegalities that characterized the process of project evaluation and making Decision on the allocation of funds to non-governmental organizations based on the public call “Let’s develop cultural habits!”, submitted to the competent Ministry of Culture formal Initiative for annulment of this harmful Decision. Unfortunately, the Minister of Culture Aleksandar Bogdanović and his associates stood in their position to implement such a decision.

We remind that this Decision has caused numerous and grounded criticisms amongst the expert and the interested public. As that decision has procedural shortcomings, we shall file a lawsuit before the Administrative Court. Furthermore, there is reasonable doubt that the decision-making process was accompanied by a non-transparency, conflict of interest and corrupt acts, and that there are indications about elements of organized crime on the relations assessors – members of the commissions – non-governmental organisations, and hence we intend to submit the criminal charge to the Special State Prosecutor’s Office.

Since this must have been known to everyone who participated in this process in the Ministry of Culture, the responsible persons in this institution will be also covered by this criminal charge. It is indisputable that the Commission was not an independent and unbiased collective body, and competent authorities should determine why the Minister and his associates did not break this chain of illegality by annulling this Decision which makes enormous damage to the public interest and organizations working in the area of culture.

We are disappointed by the fact that this has affirmed the trivial and particular interests and degraded a significant part of the cultural community of Montenegrin society. We inform the public that we will use all legal and other legitimate democratic means to shed the light on this scandalous decision and process those responsible.

Activities conducted by NGOs in the field of culture are generally not the focus of donors and therefore support from the Budget of Montenegro is crucial. Hence, we will make efforts to establish long-term systemic mechanisms that can prevent similar situations, because it is clear that the existing system has been manipulated and compromised due to the shortcomings of the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, the readiness of individuals from the Commission to make incredible stunts to help NGOs close to them, but also due to the unwillingness of the authorities in the Ministry to protect the public interest and ensure that taxpayers’ money is distributed legitimately and fairly.

Youth Cultural Center Herceg Novi
Association of Theater Critics and Theatrologists of Montenegro
ART 365
Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
NOVA Centre for Feminist Culture
NGO Korifej Theater