PODGORICA, May 19, 2022 – The European Commission praised the amendments to the Criminal Code in order to better criminal-legal protection of media workers, it was stated in the informal document of the European Commission on the situation in Chapters 23 and 24 for Montenegro.
The Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (SMCG) has been advocating for amendments to the Criminal Code since its establishment in 2013, and last year, together with the NGO Action for Human Rights, launched a joint initiative with seven other NGOs towards the new authorities. The amendments were unanimously adopted by Parliament late last year.
Amendments to the Criminal Code (CC) prescribe qualified forms of criminal offenses such as “Endangering Security”, “Aggravated Murder”, “Serious Bodily Injury” and “Coercion”, when committed against a person who performs public information work, in connection with performing that work.
A job of public importance is considered to be the performance of a profession or duty that is associated with an increased risk to the safety of persons performing it in the field of public information, health care and legal aid before judicial and other state bodies.
The European Commission recalls that old cases of attacks on journalists have not been solved, such as the murder of “Dana” editor Dusko Jovanovic and the attempted murder of journalist Olivera Lakic.
They remind that the Government adopted the first report of the new Commission for Monitoring Attacks on Journalists, which concluded that the police is more efficient than the prosecution in resolving reported cases of violence against journalists.
The document states that professional journalists’ organizations continue to report overall poor working conditions, including low wages, unpaid overtime, security risks and various forms of pressure and undue influence on their work, both by media owners and third parties.
It is stated that the Public Service of Radio Television of Montenegro (RTCG), since the election of the new council and management, has introduced more pluralism in editorial policy, but that more efforts are needed to ensure that RTCG complies with the highest standards of independence and professionalism.