European Commission investigates Montenegro media freedom

European Commission investigates Montenegro media freedom
(Image: Krish Dulal under a CC licence)

25 May 2016

The European Commission has established an independent panel of experts to investigate media freedom in Montenegro.

The team of experts is due to visit the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, this week in order to gain a broad perspective on the media situation in the country, with a particular focus on government control of the public broadcaster RTCG. They will meet with members of RTCG’s management, as well as representatives of the Parliamentary Committee on the Political System.

RTCG has been in the spotlight in the recent months leading up to the country’s October 2016 parliamentary elections, as pre-election crisis talks became deadlocked over demands by the opposition for more control over the public broadcaster. Among the demands of the opposition was the dismissal of the director and entire editorial team of news programming at RTCG, who they claim act as a government mouthpiece. RTCG’s chief editor Radojka Rutović resigned last month, along with the entire editorial team.

At the end of 2014, the Montenegrin government took on RTCG’s 2.4 million euro (approx. US$ 2.68 million) debt, and as such has become the broadcaster’s primary source of information.

A member of the RTCG council, Goran Đurović, told the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network that the council has long recommended personnel and organisational changes within the broadcaster, both in order to bolster public trust and to improve the quality of news.

“For many years I have been expressing the same opinion about unprofessional, one-sidedness, manipulative behaviour and ignorance at RTCG,” Mr Đurović stated.

Source: Balkan Insight