Montenegro6 August 2002
New legislation threaten independence of media
Reporters Without Borders has protested against the adoption by the
Montenegro parliament on 28 July of legislation limiting the editorial
independence of the public and private media.
"With this legislation, Montenegro has backed away from the commitments it
undertook with a view to joining the Council of Europe at the end of the
year", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a
letter to Vesna Perovic, spokesperson for parliament and Prime Minister
Filip Vujanovic. "We call on the government to present laws to parliament
that accord with the European standard, and we call on parliament to approve
these laws and repeal those that restrict freedom of information in
Montenegro and are detrimental to a rapprochement with European
institutions", the letter said.
On 28 July, the Montenegro parliament modified the law on public information
in such a way as to oblige the news media to take account of the views of
the leaders of the ruling parties when deciding editorial policy. The
parliament also approved a new law which limits the news sources and number
of articles that can be published on each of the political parties in an
election period. This two laws, ratified by President Milo Djukanovic, run
counter to three other bills on the news media which had been prepared by
the government with the help of Council of Europe experts ten days earlier.
On 1 August, radio and television stations stopped broadcasting for half an
hour in protest.