Memory on the murdered freedom of speech

The murder of the CeO and Editor in chief of daily “Dan” Duško Jovanović has not been fully revealed even after 17 years. That crime remains an open wound of the domestic media scene but also warning to institutions to move from talk to walk and to enable professional investigative actions that will determine all perpetrators and ones who issued the orders.

Even today, journalists cannot do their job safely and without consequences. In 2021, journalists are targets of gruesome attacks, while competent authorities still do not show interest to insure full protection of the journalists and to provide conditions for the development of media freedom and media pluralism.

It is degrading for the country which strives to become a member of the European Union that next year this anniversary will reach “legal age” without revealing who ordered, organized and committed the murder of Dusko Jovanović. In addition, the CCE emphasizes that the responsibility for the ineffective conduct of the investigation had never been determined.

Failure to resolve this extreme case, as well as other attacks on media, creates an incentive climate for other forms of jeopardizing media freedom. Since 2010, 55 attacks on journalists and their property are registered in Montenegro, making Montenegro a country in which journalists cannot do investigative journalism without fear and consequences.

The CCE has recently presented findings of the research “How do citizens perceive media in Montenegro?” that indicates that the largest share of respondents (38.5%) deems that journalists and media assets in Montenegro are endangered. This is also a confirmation of earlier CCE’ claims that attacks on journalists have resulted in increased self-censorship or a decline in the number of journalists who are ready to dedicate themselves to professional and investigative journalism, which also has an impact on the overall decline in the reporting quality and cannot be useful for objective informing.

We call on the authorities to move from rhetorical dedication to active operation, because as long as cases such as the murder of Duško Jovanović remain unresolved, Montenegro cannot make progress neither in democratic reforms nor on the path to the EU.

Damir Nikočević, Development Coordinator