RTCG Transformation from Party to Public Broadcasting Service Must Not be Stopped

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Transformation of the Radio Television of Montenegro (RTCG) from party into public broadcasting service must not be stopped as this would be the first step towards the stifling of European integration and the European future of Montenegro, as announced at the performance “Independent Public Broadcaster, Point Blanc and Period”. The protest performance in front of the Parliament of Montenegro during which chains from RTCG were symbolically removed, was organized by the Center for Civic Education (CCE), Center for Monitoring and Research (CEMI), Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN), Center for the Development of Non-Governmental Organizations (CDNGO), Institute Alternative (IA) and Network for Affirmation of the Non-Governmental Sector (MANS).

CDNGO Representative, Radoš Mušović, said that the transformation of the public broadcaster is not completed and that it will not be halted.

“We all deserve to know that our every euro that goes to the Public Broadcasting Servoce has gone to an independent Public Broadcasting Service. We are sending a message to people, who are deciding not only about the fate of Goran Đurović, but about our European future as well, that we will not allow this first step towards the stifling of the transformation of RTCG to be a first step towards the stifling of our European integration and our European future,” stated Mušović.

He further stressed that chains are being taken off from the RTCG and that “darkness would not return”.

“We are addressing MPs, today they should know that we are here, that we will not be silenced, that we remember what the RTCG was like before, we remember the darkness we were in, and that darkness will not return again, because of Montenegro whose future is European. Free media are the only thing we want and free media we will get,” said Mušovic.

RTCG Council member, Goran Đurović, said he expects the Administrative Committee of the Parliament of Montenegro to follow the orders from the top of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and to propose to the Parliament his dismissal.

“This will be done in a completely unlawful manner, and the Parliament will, again unlawfully, make such a decision, and the Public Broadcasting Service will likely again very soon be returned under the auspices of the DPS. This year, during which the citizens had the opportunity to see balanced, objective and timely reporting, will not happen anymore. Everything that happened in the past 27 years, while former management led the RTCG, will be happening again,” assessed Đurović.

He further stated that those who exercise power in Montenegro have the need to control and influence the work of all institutions.

“Public Broadcasting Service in a Montenegrin society as it is, obviously must not be independent,” said Đurović.

President of the IA Managing Board, Stevo Muk,
 said that positive developments were taking place in the Public Broadcasting Service, but in the last few months “we are witnessing the attempt to return to the old state of affairs”.

“We recognize this is coming from the DPS kitchen. Mr Luiđ Škrelja is only the executor of the decisions brought by Milo Đukanovic and Duško Marković. We ask for this to stop. We appeal to the DPS and their leadership to stop this process and to preserve the independence of RTCG,” said Muk. He also appealed to the other political parties in the ruling coalition to help stop the unlawful process of dismissing Goran Đurović and other members of the RTCG Council.

“We want to warn that everything we hear from diplomatic circles and that was delivered to the Government of Montenegro officially and in writing indicates that with such a relation to the independence of RTCG, the DPS and this Government risk halting the process of European integration and suspension of the negotiation process. We consider this to be the worst thing that can happen to Montenegro at this time,” said Muk.

He added that he believes there was enough strength in the civil society to resist the pressures.

“If this is not stopped, we will think about new gatherings and activities. We consider that there is no legal bases for the dismissal of Goran Đurović. If the Administrative Committee today proposes his dismissal, we are ready to initiate court proceedings in this regard,” stated Muk.

CDNGO Executive Director, Ana Novaković, said that the Administrative Committee has no legal competence to act in the case of Goran Đurović and that this shows that the Committee is just an instrument in the hands of the DPS.

“This party confronts in this way free-thinking NGO activists and persons not sharing their views” said Novaković.

CIN representative Milka Tadić Mijović stressed that RTCG transformation from party to public broadcasting service must not be stopped, saying that independent media is needed for the European perspective.

“This country has serious problems and will have even more if this transformation of RTCG is stopped. We are still far from free expression of citizens’ wills, from free media, ” stated Mijović.

Director of the Women’s Safe House, Ljiljana Raičević, said that the Public Broadcaster is currently very strong and watched by people, but according to her, citizens have nothing to hope for if RTCG is not independent but party-colored.

“I think that world follows the situation as well and they have some influence on the side, so they won’t be able to do whatever they want. Public Broadcasting Service was getting better, it had good TV shows, we will see how it will turn out in the future. I hope that the authorities understood that they cannot control everything, ” said Raičević.

A large number of media representatives was present at this public gathering. Here you can see FOS MEDIA story about the protest, as well as TV Vijesti feature. Support to the protest and performance was also provided by the journalists of the Public Broadcaster, and here you can look at the RTCG storyCdM portal reported on the protest as well.

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