Adulthood of the murder of Duško Jovanović – black mark of the state

Even after 18 years since the murder of the director and editor-in-chief of the daily “Dan”, Duško Jovanović, the competent institutions did not provide an adequate response concerning all the perpetrators, but also the masterminds of this heinous crime. The Centre for Civic Education (CCE) urges the competent authorities, in particular the Prosecutor’s Office and the new Chief Special Prosecutor, to demonstrate their commitment in this case. Without complete resolution of this case, there can be no word about the genuine progress in the establishment of the rule of law in Montenegro.

The spiral of violence was dramatically launched in 2004, but 18 years later, journalists still cannot do their job freely and safely. Although the trend of attacks on journalists is lower in 2022 than in 2021, the authorities are not undertaking systematic measures to ensure neither the protection of media freedom nor strengthening of media pluralism.

Failure to shed light on this crime leaves room for possible future actions against free speech. Numerous domestic and international reports warn about that, putting the case of Duško Jovanović in the focus of the analysis of the media sphere in Montenegro. CCE also reminds of last year’s findings of the research “How do citizens see the media in Montenegro?” that showed that a large percentage of citizens – 38.5% believe that journalists and media assets in Montenegro are endangered.

In Montenegro, the fact that journalists represent the voice of the public and form the so called fourth branch of government whose role is to review the decisions of elected representatives, and all in the public interest, is still hard to acknowledge. However, it is encouraging the decision of the Parliament of Montenegro, from December 2021, to adopt amendments to the Criminal Code prescribing stronger criminal law protection for journalists. This can contribute to the strengthening of the security of media representatives, and consequently to reducing self-censorship, which in turn significantly influence the decrease of the quality of reporting.

CCE calls on the Government of Montenegro and the Prosecutor’s Office to make every effort to solve this murder, but also all cases of attacks on journalists and media property, as without that there is no progress in democratic consolidation of the society or the process of European integration.

Damir NIKOČEVIĆ, Development Coordinator