EC Progress Report for Montenegro 2014

In Montenegro, freedom of expression has been undermined by cases of violence against journalists, and attacks on media property, states the EC Progress Report for Montenegro 2014. The government should continue publicly promoting and supporting media freedom, avoiding any statements that may be understood as intimidation. Self-regulatory bodies responsible for maintaining and promoting professional and ethical standards are weak.
The Head of the Montenegro Unit within the European Commission Directorate General for EU Enlargement, Dirk Lange, and the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro Mitja Drobnič presented the Progress Report 2014 on 8th of October. This is the third Progress Report on Montenegro since the country opened accession negotiations with the EU in June 2012. The European Commission concluded that the country continues to sufficiently meet the political criteria, made further progress in establishing a functioning market economy and has improved its ability to take on the obligations of EU membership.

NGO sector: Report could be sharper and more specific

Some civil society representatives think that the report was too mild. They believe it “could have been sharper and more specific in certain areas, such as corruption, discrimination, women’s rights and government respect for civil society and media” ( according to Mina Agency).

Key findings of the 2014 Progress Report on Montenegro

Human rights, media freedom

Serious concerns remain with respect to freedom of expression, which has been undermined by cases of violence against journalists, and attacks on media property. Old and recent cases of threats and violence against journalists remain to be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted, to identify not only the material perpetrators but also those behind the attacks. Older cases in particular need to be addressed as a matter of urgency to avoid them being time-barred. A Commission for monitoring the activities of the competent authorities in the investigation of old and recent cases of threats and violence against journalists was established in December. Its recommendations need to be fully followed up by the authorities. The government should continue publicly promoting and supporting media freedom, avoiding any statements that may be understood as intimidation. Self-regulatory bodies responsible for maintaining and promoting professional and ethical standards are weak.

The Montenegrin authorities took further steps to strengthen the protection of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons. The first pride parade in Podgorica took place in October 2013, supported adequately by the authorities. However, attacks against LGBTI persons continued and related criminal convictions remain few. Hostility against them remains widespread in society.

The full report can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2014/20141008-montenegro-progress-report_en.p

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