At the conference held at the EU Info Centre earlier today, EU Ambassador to Montenegro Aivo Orav reminded that the European Union attaches great importance to the issue of freedom of expression and media freedom. He stressed the fact that freedom of expression is one of the core principles of a free society, and, furthermore a key indicator of a country's readiness to become part of the EU.
“All media in Montenegro should be in a position to report freely and to choose their editorial policy. In order to do so, however, media freedoms need to be respected, and in particular all cases of violence against journalists and media must be resolved”, said Ambassador Orav.
He expressed hope that the EU Media Professionalism Programme would help improveconditions for high-quality journalism. “All citizens benefit from the availability of different angles on a story, as long as the facts are presented fully and correctly.Montenegrin institutions also benefit from constructive criticism and high-quality reporting,” said Ambassador Orav, adding, however, that with the great power to shape public opinion, come great responsibilities.
The beneficiaries of selected projects include Montenegro's public broadcaster RTCG in cooperation with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), TV Vijesti in cooperation with the Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS), Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) in cooperation with TV Prva, and the Centre for Investigative Journalism Montenegro (CIN-CG) in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).
In the next year and a half, through these projects, the Montenegrin audience will be presented with new high-quality media content, such as the new season of investigative journalism show “Mechanism” on RTCG, a new weekly show on TV Vijesti, investigative stories of CIN-CG, and documentary films on TV Prva. In addition to new media content, the projects will offer additional trainings for Montenegrin journalists and strengthen their capacity. Thus, for example, for the first time in the region, RTCG, as a national public broadcaster, will establish an investigative newsroom, and TV Vijesti will establish an ombudsman's office for handling citizens’ complaints.
As the representative of one of the supported projects, the President of CIN-CG, Milka Tadic-Mijovic said, these projects will also strengthen the links among journalists in Montenegro. “Thanks to this EUD Programme, after many years of divisions, we have been given the chance to come together for a joint task – strengthening media freedom”.
The Media Professionalism Programme is part of the Civil Society Facility which so far has supported only NGOs. This Programme thus presents a new milestone in the support of the European Union to Montenegro as being the first programme of direct support to the media.
More information on the projects and their aims and activities can be found here.