New state aid to the media: 200,000 euros for TV stations

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PODGORICA, 14.04.2022 – The commercial stations TV Vijesti, TV Prva and TV Nova M, will receive new state aid, this time in the amount of 200,000 euros, thus continuing the support that the Government and state bodies send directly or indirectly to the media sector.

Such a decision of the Government followed the request of the three broadcasters, who asked the state to continue taking over their obligations towards the Broadcasting Center (RDC) during 2022.

“Taking into account the difficult situation and the issue of media sustainability, which are further weakened by the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, and the letter sent by the three largest broadcasters – TV Vijesti, TV Nova M and TV Prva, the government decided to take on these broadcasters’ obligations to the Broadcasting Center in 2022, in the amount of 200,000 euros, because in the event of the termination of state aid for the payment of services to RDC, the business of three commercial televisions with a national frequency, which employs about 200 workers and pays gross salaries annually a total of about 2.5m euros, would be jeopardized,” the Government said in a statement.

After this decision of the Government, the management of Adria TV reacted, because they are left out of that help.

The Government explained the decision by the practice of their predecessors to provide such assistance to electronic media: “Conclusion of the Government of Montenegro, No. 07-522, dated 17 March 2017 on taking over part of the debt of commercial TV and radio stations with national frequency to the Broadcasting Center in the amount of 1,847,189.16 euros, as of 2021. Pursuant to that Conclusion, EUR 200,000.00 was allocated for 2018, EUR 397,092.72 for 2019, EUR 400,000.00 for 2020 and EUR 400,000.00 for 2021.”

Commercial TV broadcasters were exempted from paying a fee to the Electronic Media Agency (AEM) last year, in the amount of 100,000 euros for all electronic broadcasters.

Also, the competition for commercial and non-profit electronic media for the allocation of money from the Fund for Encouraging Pluralism of Media Content in the amount of about 460,000 euros has recently ended and a decision of the AEM Council is expected. On the other hand, the Commission of the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, which decides on the allocation of budgets for print media and Internet publications, in December last year supported 32 projects of print media and Internet publications, including 12 projects of NGOs that have their own internet publications. This allocation amounted to 309,633 euros, which comes from the total amount of 774,083 euros to finance the media for 2021.

In addition, the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media recently provided EUR 142,000 to help the media, in line with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, to empower media that play a key role in preventing the spread of misinformation and hate speech.

It is estimated that the state, through direct and indirect assistance, helped the media during the crowning crisis with about 2.5 million euros.