First of all, we wish to congratulate the Day of Journalists to all journalists and media in Montenegro, although we welcome this day in a not very favorable environment related to media freedom and the position of journalists in Montenegro. Unfortunately, Montenegro is still not making progress in this area, as indicated by the European Commission Report for 2020. We can start from the most recent events when the portal editors were arrested for the content they posted, and of course there are cases of murder and attacks on journalists, which are still unresolved.
Additionally, there are still present political and strong ownership influences on the work of the media, difficult economic situation for the work of the media, unacceptably bad position of journalists, lack of self-regulation, and the emergence of more and more media ready to spread fake news.
Thus, we have a situation that only a few journalists have the opportunity to report objectively, but in order to keep their jobs, they have to adapt their journalistic work to the interests of media owners who dictate editorial policy in order to pursue certain political interests. Those who try to get out of that pattern often end up with bad consequences, such as layoffs.
It seems that the polarization of the media is more evident than ever, and we get the impression that there is not much impartiality and objectivity in reporting on both sides and there certainly no room for this in a democratic society that we strive to build.
If we want the position of journalists in Montenegro to improve and to increase the freedom of the media, which is the basis of any democratic society, we must all – the media, journalists, authorities and the civil sector – work to ensure that journalists are primarily guardians of citizens interests, not of media owners they work for.
Amina Murić, Deputy Executive Director