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MFA in the letter to European institutions: Montenegro is committed to strengthening of media freedom, but it will prevent any attempt of disturbing public order and peace

Published date: 15.01.2020 16:03 | Author: MVP

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent the letter to European institutions – European Commission, OSCE and Council of Europe regarding the publication of fake news on the portals IN4S and Borba about the alleged explosion in „Vila Gorica“ in Podgorica.

As stated in the letter, the Government of Montenegro unreservedly seeks to create a safe and supportive environment for free and professional media in Montenegro, as a key aspect of the policy of strengthening the rule of law.

We are achieving this political commitment through the creation of a legislative framework in line with the highest European standards, the creation of transparent and equitable models of support for the financial sustainability of independent media and the creation of a zero-tolerance environment for violence against journalists.

Regarding the legislative framework, all the expert analyses of our European partners have shown that Montenegro is committed to creating and implementing a legislative framework based on high international standards. Legal acts that regulate the issue of position and functioning of the entire media community, as well as continued joint efforts of the Government of Montenegro, the Council of Europe and the European Commission on further improvement of the legislative framework, confirmed this.

One of the fake news about the alleged explosion at Villa Gorica in Podgorica, that was published on the IN4S and Borba portals (Editor-in-chief of IN4S Gojko Raičević and editor-in-chief of "Borba" Dražen Živković), the State Prosecutor in the Basic State Prosecutor's Office in Podgorica stated that the actions of the two persons were acquiring elements of the aforementioned criminal offence of causing panic and disorder.

Specifically, in this case, it is evident that Živkovic and Raičević conveyed i.e. published false information, with serious indications that it was an attempt of interfere in the internal affairs of Montenegro, with the intention of destabilizing the state and disturbing public order and peace.

Montenegro is a free and democratic society where, without limitation, different opinions, in relation to many social issues and government policies can be expressed, on the condition they are organized in line with law and without jeopardizing the rights of others.

Montenegro is increasingly exposed to hybrid threats and elements of hybrid war and as a NATO member we are obliged to stand up against it. Therefore, state authorities must intervene and prevent any attempt of disturbing public order and peace, preserving state sovereignty and protection of the Constitutional order.

The issue of journalists’ safety and the distribution of fake news to the public, should not be perceived solely as a Montenegrin specific, bearing in mind that this is a global challenge, which is tackled not only by the region countries, but also certain EU member states and other states. We condemn any attack on freedom of expression, but it should not be overlooked that the issue of professional standard is often questionable in situations where media outlets assume profit or other interests to the public of being informed.

We remain committed to further strengthening of media freedom and protecting journalists, as well as creating the conditions for raising professional standards.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs