World Press Freedom Day in Montenegro is celebrated without progress in media

On the occasion of 3 May – World Press Freedom Day, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) congratulates to all media and media employees, regretting that instead of a comprehensive improvement in the field of media freedom, we note a bad situation at all levels in this area.

The CCE indicates that the media in Montenegro remain deeply polarized and politicized. This is partly a reflection of socio-political processes, which limits the flow of objective information and further complicates the development of professional journalism.

It is indicative that the attitude of decision-makers towards the media does not change – those who reach positions of power, contrary to the public interest, continue to divide the media into suitable and unsuitable and accordingly enable or deny them access to interlocutors and information, as well as public funds.

The Montenegrin media scene has traditionally been characterized by numerous problems – from attacks on journalists and the media, the increasingly alarming situation at RTCG, financing from public funds according to strange criteria, weak self-regulation, etc. Also, due to non-compliance with media regulations, Montenegro has a blockade when it comes to the use of certain EU funds.

CCE especially expresses concern that the announced versions of the media laws will not address some of the pressing problems, such as the situation in RTCG. More precisely, the current version of the Draft of the Law on RTCG, which foresees a different structure of the RTCG Council and stricter criteria for their election, will not end the mandate of the current convocation, although it would be the only logical way to start solving the problems in that media house. The Ministry of Culture and Media did not respond to the appeal of the NGO, and the Parliament of Montenegro, contrary to the call of the civil sector, elected two members according to the current Law on RTCG, which will cease to be valid in a month or two, including the re-election of one member of the Council, who participated twice in the illegal election of the general director of RTCG, Boris Raonić.

We would like to remind, that Raonić is still in the position of general director despite the pronounced final court judgments that establish that this appointment is illegal, as well as the opinion of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (ASK) that Raonić does not even meet the technical requirements for election to that position.

CCE expresses particular concern about the difficult economic conditions in which journalists work, which already has serious consequences on the level of self-censorship.

CCE will continue to point out the media scene and the bad policies and practices that are already characteristic of all governments, but also contribute to changing the situation for the better through its program activities. Without the freedom and sustainability of the media, the physical and economic security of journalists, as well as the responsible approach of the government, there is neither objective information to the public nor a truly democratic society.

Nikola Obradović, Programme Assistant