DPS against EU and US in new action of retaining control over the RTCG

Administrative Committee of the Parliament of Montenegro determined the Proposal for the list for the appointment of the RTCG Council by authorized proposers. Proposal for the list was unanimously supported by the MPs of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), which confirmed that the DPS had controlled this process from the beginning, and that there was not a single candidate on the list that was tailor-made for the ruling party, as it became the key criteria for the election into the RTCG Council .

European Commission unambiguously expressed its position in the Montenegro 2019 Report, stating that undue political interference in the work of the public broadcaster are matter of serious concern. Instead of receiving it as a warning, the DPS is even more agile to conquer all the institutions that are crucial for the legitimacy of the upcoming electoral process, directly jeopardizing dynamics of our path to the EU.

This is also noted by the European Commission, as indicated by today’s tweet of the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, in which he stated ‘The latest EU Commission report on Montenegro sent a clear message about the importance of remedying continued political interference in the national public broadcaster RTCG. It is a matter of serious concern, which requires resolute steps.’ This tweet was shared by the top European Commission officials from Brussels, including Commissioner Johannes Hahn, as well as the US Embassy in Montenegro, pointing out that the major foreign policy partners of Montenegro speak with one voice. And, it is exactly them that DPS directly confronts because of its party interests, jeopardizing the state and public interest.

All candidates for the RTCG Council members are aware of the circumstances under which they candidate, and their candidature provided legitimacy to premeditated scenarios of the ruling party. On behalf of NGO sector, Goran Sekulovic, well known in public as the author of the convenient biographies of the President of the DPS, stood as a candidate, as well as Milan Radovic, who during his mandate distinguished himself by attacking colleagues from the critically oriented part of the NGO sector and playing a key role in the dismissal of previous management questioning the contract between the CCE and RTCG, for which the court verdicts proved that it did cause no damage to RTCG, as he claimed at the time.

At the Administrative Committee, the Law on Public Broadcasting Services of RTCG was again violated when proposing a list of new / old members of the Council. This has already become a tradition in the work of this body, whose unlawful actions, such as the proposal for dismissal of RTCG Council members from 2017, were confirmed by judicial decisions. Specifically, the Administrative Committee has also assessed the documentation of NGOs which nominated Goran Sekulovic who did not act in the field of human rights protection as required by the Law, hence demonstrating affection for this candidate. The legal criteria for a significant number of NGOs that proposed Sekulovic were neglected, including pensioner’s associations, folklore ensembles, vocal and instrumental groups and theatres. A significant number of NGOs from the media that supported Radovic are not known in the public for media NGO projects in this area.

Also, despite the fact that at the moment of submitting the documentation, the candidate for the RTCG Council member, Pavle Radovanovic, a representative of the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro, was appointed by the Government of Montenegro as a member of the Commission for European Integration and the Head of Working for preparing and conducting negotiations on Montenegro’s accession to the EU for Chapter 3 (Right of establishment and freedom to provide services). Still, the Administrative Committee, contrary to Article 26 of the Law on Public Broadcasting Services of RTCG, proposed Radovanovic as RTCG Council member. Even the of Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) pointed to a formal obstacle to the appointment of Radovanovic as a member of the RTCG Council. The Administrative Committee could not neglect the fact that at the time of the submission of the documentation, the candidate Pavle Radovanovic did not meet the requirements for appointing a member of the RTCG Council.

We recall that the Administrative Committee made the same mistake during the previous appointment procedure of members of Council of RTCG when enabled Slobo Pajovic to be appointed as a member of this body despite the negative position of Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), as Pajovic was a public official at the time of the submitting the candidature. Then, the Administrative Committee enabled Pajovic, the former councillor of DPS, to become a member of the RTCG Council.

The Administrative Committee has basically rendered meaningless the process of appointing members of the RTCG Council, establishing violation of laws and procedures as standard in its work, but also causing enormous damage to ongoing integration processes.

Daliborka Uljarević, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Ana Novaković, Executive Director, Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organisations (CDNGO)
Stevo Muk, President of Managing Board, Institute Alternative (IA)
Zlatko Vujović, President of Managing Borad, Center for Monitoring and Research (CeMI)

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