EPCG and Air Montenegro public companies with the highest allocations for media services in 2022

Data on media financing from the funds of 11 selected and analyzed public companies in 2022 indicate that the most money for media and related services was allocated by Electrical Power Company of Montenegro (EPCG) – EUR 499,100.56, followed by Air Montenegro – EUR 249,217.08, and Montenegrin Electricity Distribution System (CEDIS) – EUR 79,168.65. In fourth and fifth place are Plantaže (64,446.75 EUR) and public company Sea Good (40,220.35 EUR), as verifed in the findings of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) obtained based on the Free Access to Information Law.

Certain public companies continued with the practice of advertising in the unregistered IN4S portal, for which EPCG allocated EUR 7,986 in 2022, Sea Good EUR 5,000, and CEDIS EUR 3,388, according to available information. The new draft Media Law foresees a ban on advertising of public companies in the media that are not registered/recorded according to the laws of the state of Montenegro, which is a good step forward if it is finally adopted. In addition, CCE proposed to introduce a provision that would prevent the financing of media from public funds that violate the Code of Journalists of Montenegro.

Public company Coal Mine is on the blacklist of (non)transparency of analyzed public companies, which in its response to CCE referred to “business secrecy”, after which a complaint was sent to the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data and Free Access to Information (AZLP). Also, the Airports of Montenegro have not been responding to the CCE’s requests for years, strongly positioning their place on the list of non-transparency in this matter.

Overview of selected and analyzed public companies and allocations for media services during 2022, which were recognized also by earlier CCE’s reports and in recorded advertisements in the media, by allocations of money for media services:

  1. EPCG – 499 100,56 EUR
  2. Air Montenegro – 249 217,08 EUR
  3. Montenegrin Electricity Distribution System (CEDIS) – 79 168,65 EUR
  4. Plantaže – 64 446,75 EUR
  5. PC Sea Good – 40 220,35 EUR
  6. Monteput – 38 078,68 EUR
  7. Regional water supply Montenegrin coast – 16 383,84 EUR
  8. Post of Montenegro – 11 311,65 EUR
  9. National Parks of Montenegro – 87,44 EUR
  10. Coal mine Pljevlja – bez odgovora
  11. Airports of Montenegro – bez odgovora

In the past, media financing from public funds was often one of the ways of influencing the media, where the authorities through the politicized, discretionary, non-transparent distribution of public funds, as well as through subsidies to the media, influenced editorial policies and the media market, which was criticized in reports of relevant NGOs and international actors.

Damir Nikočević, Development Coordinator