Montenegro’s ruling party takes control of public TV broadcaster

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the way Montenegro’s ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) is seizing control of the supervisory council of the state-owned TV broadcaster, RTCG, threatening its independence.

The DPS took the process one step further on 28 December when it used its majority to get parliament to vote in favour of dismissing one of the council’s members, Goran Djurovic. Meanwhile, the DPS representatives in the Parliament elected its senior official Slobodan Pajovic as new member of the council, although this is against the law.

Early in the week, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, in response to calls from many NGOs to protest against the ruling party’s blatant takeover of the public broadcaster.

In order to get control of the RTCG, the DPS has been infiltrating its supervisory council in recent months with the aim of removing members like Djurovic who do not follow its political line and who are accused by the DPS of supporting the opposition.

We condemn this abuse of power by the DPS, which is using its parliamentary majority to interfere in the public TV broadcaster’s affairs and to remove supervisory council members who are not to the party’s liking,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk.

Montenegro’s citizens have the right to an independent public TV service and, by attacking it in this manner, the authorities are showing that they do not respect European standards at a time when they would nonetheless like Montenegro to join the European Union.”

This violation of public broadcasting independence could indeed hamper the process of EU accession for Montenegro, which is ranked 106th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

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