Soft censorship as a threat to journalism in Montenegro

soft censorship, Bulgaria

Daliborka Uljarevic, Executive Director of Center for Civic Education (CGO), speaks for SEE Media Observatory about the media and soft censorship in Montenegro. In Montenegro, soft censorship is exercised primarily through politicised, discretionary and non-transparent distribution of public money and subsidies to media.

Lack of transparency, as well as lack of standard and equitable procedures in allocation of public funding seriously distort the media market, improving business prospects of some outlets and endangering the existence of others. Uljarevic says that this is directly related to how favourably or critically media outlets report on governmental activities. CGO was reporting mechanisms of potential influence of public institutions on media editorial policies, pointing to examples of abuse of public funds for manipulating media reporting to pursue partisan political goals.

Previously proposed amendments to the laws pertaining to government financing of media were not adopted by the Parliament, but Uljarevic suggests that the issue will be put forward in the upcoming public debates as well. Uljarevic urges actions that would reverse the erosion of media freedom in Montenegro and improve prospects for development of free, independent and pluralistic media that could provide the accurate, impartial reporting on activities of the government, political parties and other institutions, which is all required if democratisation of Montenegrin society and governance is to be promoted.

For the full interview, see the video above.

The item was originally published by SEE Media Observatory

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