Constitution is clear: The Court must ban publishing of the disputed content

Court to rule an immediate ban on the distribution of all future media content which violates human rights and freedoms, in order to prevent further endangering of personal dignity and integrity by the daily newspaper “Informer”.

This was requested in an Initiative which was submitted today to the Basic State Prosecution Office in Podgorica and to the Supreme State Prosecution by seventeen representatives of the civil society. The Initiative relies on the fundamental constitutional principles of inviolability of dignity, safety, integrity and personal rights of all citizens.

Following the motion by the Prosecution, we expect that this time around the Basic Court in Podgorica will comply with the Media Law, interpreting it in the context of the Constitution of Montenegro, which stipulates that although everyone has the right to freedom of expression, this right is limited by the right to dignity, reputation and honor, and if it threatens public morals.

The Court ignored identical request of the signatories of the Initiative submitted in June this year.

Articles of the daily newspaper “Informer”, published on 27 and 28 October and referring to Ms Vanja Ćalović, represent a direct violation of constitutionally guaranteed human rights and freedoms. The Initiative seeks to ban the distribution of already published content, as well as all related print and audio-visual content that may appear in the future.

In this way, gross violations of human rights and freedoms would be prevented, while at the same time a timely response of institutions provided, in relation to irresponsibility and lack of professionalism of media and journalists.

The freedom of expression should not be an excuse for publication and distribution of the content published by the “Informer” in the past couple of days, nor of the content that appeared on the front pages of the same media a couple of months ago.

The damage incurred by the distribution of these issues cannot be eliminated “in hindsight” by the competent authorities. Therefore, the Prosecution needs to propose to the Court to rule an immediate ban on the distribution of all content immediately after their publication.

The signatories of the Initiative suggest that bringing certain provisions of the Media Law in connection with the Constitution of Montenegro provides the Prosecution with an opportunity to initiate such a motion before the competent court.

On this occasion, signatories of the Initiative urge for a more active role of other institutions that have a mandate to stand for the rights of all the citizens and which have, for now, been silent on the gross violations of human rights inflicted by the daily newspaper “Informer”.

In addition to the violation of dignity and integrity, the violations include severe form of sex-based discrimination. However, although the Ombudsman is obliged to alert the public to severe forms of discrimination, under the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, Montenegrin Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms, Šućko Baković, has not yet publicly condemned the severe discrimination against women in the disputed articles.

The Initiative for submission of a proposal for acting of the Basic State Prosecution Office in accordance with provisions of Article 11 and Article 12 of the Media Law. (in Montenegrin)

The signatories of the Initiative are:

  • Ana Novaković, Executive Director of Centre for Development of NGOs (CRNVO),
  • Biljana Zeković, Executive Director of the SOS Hotline for women and children victims of violence Podgorica,
  • Daliborka Uljarević, Executive Director of Centre for Civic Education (CCE),
  • Goran Đurović, President of the Managing Board of the Coalition of NGOs “Through Cooperation to the Aim”,
  • Hatidža Neljaj, Executive Director of the SOS Hotline for women and children victims of violence Ulcinj,
  • Ljupka Kovačević, Coordinator of Center for women`s and peace education ANIMA,
  • Ljiljana Raičević, Executive Director of Women’s Safe House,
  • Marijana Laković Drašković, Human Rights Expert,
  • Maja Raičević, Executive Director of Center for Women’s Rights,
  • Marina Vujačić, Executive Director of the Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro,
  • Milan Šaranović, Managing Director of the Centre for Antidiscrimination EKVISTA,
  • Milenko Vojičić, Executive Director of the Association “Plegija” Nikšić,
  • Milka Tadić Mijović, Executive Director of the weekly “Monitor”,
  • Nataša Međedović, Executive Director of the SOS Hotline for women and children victims of violence Nikšić,
  • Slavica Striković, Executive Director of the Women’s Action,
  • Stevo Muk, President of the Managing Board of Institute Alternative,
  • Žarko Rakčević, Coordinator of the Forum 2010.

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