18 NGOs: Election of the director of RTCG represents a defeat of the rule of law; members of the council who participated in the voting should resign from their positions

Human Rights Action (HRA), Association Spektra, Centre for Civic Education (CCE), Centre for Monitoring and Research, Women’s Rights Centre (WRC), Centre for Civil Liberties, Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, Centre for Investigative Journalism, Centre for Development of NGOs,  European Association for Law and Finance (EALF), Institute Alternative (IA), Juventas, Media Centre, Montenegro Media Institute (MMI), PRIMA, Trade Union of Media of Montenegro, Society of Professional Journalists and Queer Montenegro are protesting the unlawful re-election of Boris Raonić as Director of RTCG and calling on the members of the RTCG Council who participated in the election to resign from public functions due to the fact that they ignored the final court decision, placing private interests before those of the public.

It is unacceptable for any public official, including members of the Public Service Council, to abuse public office by ignoring final court decisions and disregarding the rule of law.

Foto: Vijesti

In this specific case, the court recently overturned the decision on the election of Boris Raonić as Director of RTCG, finding that he should not have been elected to that position in 2021 because – as a member of the Council of the Agency for Electronic Communications – he was in conflict of interest at the time he applied for the competition and at the time of the election. However, President of the RTCG Council Veselin Drljević and members of the RTCG Council Amina Murić, Predrag Miranović, Naod Zorić and Filip Lazović have now been re-elected him to the same position, acting contrary to the final court decision and their duty to respect the instructions from the decisions of the competent court as prescribed by Article 34 paragraph 2 of the Law on National Public Broadcasters. Namely, the Law clearly stipulates that “no one has the right to influence the work of a member of the Council in any way, nor is a member of the Council obliged to follow anyone’s instructions regarding his/her work, except for the decisions of the competent court”.

There is no doubt as to how the instruction from the final judgment reads. The High Court in Podgorica very precisely pointed out that “the legal consequences of overturning the decision on appointment are: a re-election from among the candidates who had applied, or the annulment of the competition, in which procedure the defendant shall have the opportunity to reconsider the remaining applications and decide in accordance with the law”. Based on this decision, the RTCG Council had only two options: (1) to annul the competition and announce a new one or (2) to elect one of the remaining candidates as part of the disputed competition. The RTCG Council, however, decided to repeat the election process including all the original candidates and elect the person regarding whom the court had already conclusively determined that he does not meet the requirements prescribed by the competition in question. By electing candidates based on the requirements from the 2021 competition, and including Raonić among them, the above five members of the Council knowingly abused their official positions and caused damage to the public interest.

Montenegro must establish the rule of law at all levels of all public services, including the national broadcaster. All public officials, including members of the RTCG Council, must respect court decisions, and it is very dangerous for the entire system when they are the ones who mock the rule of law. We therefore believe that the first step in the attempt to return the work of the Public Service to the legal framework would be for these five members of the Council to resign immediately and continue their careers away from any public office. Their remaining in those positions would not only damage the reputation of the RTCG Public Service, but also the state of Montenegro – which will undoubtedly be noted in all relevant international reports.

Human Rights Action (HRA)
Association Spektra
Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Centre for Monitoring and Research
Women’s Rights Centre (WRC)
Centre for Civil Liberties
Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Centre for Investigative Journalism
Centre for Development of NGOs
European Association for Law and Finance (EALF)
Institute Alternative (IA)
Media centre
Montenegro Media Institute (MMI)
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Society of Professional Journalists
Queer Montenegro

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