Instead of spreading false news and polemic with NGOs, the Government should complete its work

We welcome the agreement reached at the meeting yesterday between representatives of the Government of Montenegro and RTCG regarding the signing of the 2018-2020 Broadcasting Services Contract.

However, the public has the right to accurate information, so it should be specified that information published yesterday by the Media Directorate and Public Relations Department of the Government of Montenegro is not true: “representatives of the Government headed by the Minister of Culture Aleksandar Bogdanović and representatives of the Radio and Television of Montenegro headed by the President of the Council, PhD Vladimir Pavićević, fully agreed on the text of the agreement and agreed that a harmonized document should be submitted to the Government as soon as possible in the prescribed procedure.”

Only the RTCG Council can give consent to the text of the contract and all that has been agreed upon is of no substance until it is confirmed by the formal bodies of the RTCG and the Government itself. Hence, the fact remains that the contract in question has not been signed for several months, just as noted in our press release.

The Government of Montenegro and its services should keep to the facts and not spread fake news, and instead of polemics with non-governmental organizations finally complete this work and unblock all contracts affecting the functioning of the RTCG, through which they try to exert political pressure on RTCG.

The Media Directorate and Public Relations Department devoted a significant part of its reaction to painting an image of positive atmosphere from the meeting and providing unsustainable qualifications on the account of non-governmental organizations we manage. These unnecessary and digressive details are not of interest to the public. But, it is in the public’s interest that the Government signs the 2018-2020 Broadcasting Services Contract and approves the RTCG collective agreement. And we will persistently remind the Government of these obligations, and inform the public about abuses of power mechanisms in party interests.

The Media Directorate and the Public Relations Department have not disputed with a single word the allegations that the Government affects the exercise of the employees’ rights and the functioning of the RTCG by refusing to sign the RTCG collective agreement. The RTCG management delivered the collective agreement to the Government for approval four months ago and this is an indisputable fact. We have already pointed out the absurdity of the Government’s explanation that they cannot approve this contract until the new Labor Law has been adopted. It is also interesting that this Government approach applies only to the RTCG collective agreement while at the same time the Government works in haste on collective agreements of other entities, which the concerned public does not fail to see.

Also, we did not get an explanation from the Media Directorate and Public Relations Department of the Government of Montenegro, as to why the Government does not send its top representatives to the most viewed RTCG TV shows in the form of dialogue. Instead of failed attempt to blur the facts, the Public Relations Department of the Government of Montenegro could advise the Prime Minister and members of the government to meet their obligations to inform the public on their work and to exchange their arguments with persons of different opinions, instead of subordinating this obligation to the party directive.

The Government should do its work, just as the Parliament of Montenegro and the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption should do their work, and interested public will easily assess results of this work. Therefore, the Government should demonstrate that it is suspending the pressure on RTCG, with which it has already seriously harmed the national interests, by unblocking these two agreements and by taking responsibility to present its work through its highest representatives also on the public broadcasting service RTCG.

Ana Novaković, Executive Director, Centre for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations (CDNGO)
Daliborka Uljarević, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Stevo Muk, President of MB, Institute alternative (IA)
Zlatko Vujović, President of MB, Centre for Monitoring and Research (CEMI)

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