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The parliamentary procedure for amending the Criminal Code has been initiated

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Photo: SMCG

Podgorica, July 24th, 2021. – Member of the Parliament of Montenegro Marko Milacic proposed amendments to the Criminal Code (CC) in order to better legal protection of journalists, respecting the initiative of nine organizations, among which is Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (SMCG).

Earlier, civil society organizations dealing with the work of the media sent a joint initiative to the Government, the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights, the Parliament and parliamentary clubs to toughen penalties for attacks on journalists.

“We believe that the introduction of new criminal offenses in the Criminal Code – Preventing Journalists from Performing Professional Tasks and Attacking Journalists in Performing Professional Tasks, ie supplementing the existing criminal offenses of Aggravated Murder and Serious Bodily Injury, could help deter potential perpetrators in the future”, it is stated in the initiative.

Milacic said that journalists in Montenegro were endangered while performing their professional tasks, which, as he pointed out, is confirmed by frequent attacks lately.

“It is justified to prescribe penalties for attacks on journalists and other vulnerable groups, such as children and pregnant women, for inflicting severe bodily injuries,” Milacic said.

At a round table organized by the SMCG on July 22, representatives of parliamentary political parties generally supported the amendments to the CC.

Politicians supports stricter penalties for attacks on journalists

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Photo: SMCG

PODGORICA, July 23rd, 2021 – Political parties support in principle the amendments to the Criminal Code requested by NGOs and media associations, in order to toughen penalties for attacks on journalists, it was announced at the third round table “Improvement of media legislation in Montenegro”, organized today by the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (SMCG).

Media community must find a common language and act more harmoniously, agreed the deputies of the Parliament of Montenegro, representatives of political parties, international organizations, media associations and NGOs, who attended the round table.

SMCG presented recommendations for the improvement of the Law on Media, the Law on National Public Broadcaster, the Law on Electronic Media (Draft Law on Audio-Visual Media Services), the Law on Free Access to Information, the Law on Copyright and Related Rights, and the Criminal Code.

Photo: SMCG

Assistance to the media must not turn into state influence, said the president of SMCG, Marijana Camovic Velickovic. “So far, the state has not shown readiness to solve cases of attacks on journalists,” said Camovic Velickovic.

The vice president of SMCG, Radomir Krackovic, reminded that for a long time there was no response to the requests of the civil sector and media associations to toughen the penalties for attacks on journalists, and thanked the deputies for expressing their readiness to change that.

He said that the expectation of SMCG is that the Law on Audio-Visual Media Services, if adopted in the form of the existing Draft, will help local public broadcasters, because the budgets of these media would increase. “We invite you to pay attention to this law, when it comes to the parliamentary procedure,” Krackovic told the deputies.

MP Marko Milacic commented on the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, assessing that it is urgently needed and that Prava Crna Gora will support the introduction of stricter penalties for attacks on journalists. “This is urgent and expeced to be in the Parliament soon,” Milacic announced.

Photo: SMCG

He also problematized the competition for the general director of RTCG. “Public service is the key to the freedom of a society,” Milacic said, adding that the process of electing a director must be extremely transparent and without any conflict of interest.

Democratic Montenegro MP Tamara Vujovic pointed out the importance of the study  “Freedom of the Media and the Safety of Journalists through the Prism of Media Legislation in Montenegro” which was recently published by SMCG.

“The media scene is very diverse, we have a ‘flood’ of information. We should be especially worried about the data on the percentage of citizens who believe in conspiracy theories“, said Vujovic.

Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) MP Predrag Sekulic said that it was worrying that a large number of journalists went to work in the public sector. “We must provide journalists with not only freedom of reporting, but also favorable conditions for existence,” Sekulic pointed out.

Photo: SMCG

He said that it is very difficult to regulate the field of the Internet. “No one can forbid anyone to establish a site and place information. The common task of journalists and politicians is to fight against false news”, DPS MP believes.

URA MP Bozena Jelusic said that the field of media is constantly changing, so that changes in the law are always necessary.

“We have a great influence of the media from the region. The media scene is changing and I don’t see that we are careful enough. We are under the impact of strong propaganda. We also have internal propaganda. That is why it is not surprising that trust in the media is falling. We still do not have a solution to the problem of self-regulation”, said Jelusic.

The representative of the Social Democrats (SD), Nikola Zirojevic, pointed out that political parties must find a consensus in order to improve the level of security of media workers.

“I am saddened by the fact that there is no solidarity in the media. “Regardless of ‘which side’ we come from, the abuse of the law must not be used for reckoning,” Zirojevic said.

Democratic Front (DF) MP Natasa Jevric said that SMCG will have support for all proposals that contribute to media freedom.

Photo: SMCG

The director of the Human Rights Action (HRA), Tea Gorjanc Prelevic, said that the organization proposed the definition of a journalist, relying on the Council of Europe. “We have been expecting a concrete discussion on this formulation for 10 years now,” Gorjanc Prelevic pointed out. She said the Media Strategy must be concrete, with a clear list of the needs of the media community.

“It is necessary to urgently resolve disputes concerning the appointment and dismissal of members of the RTCG Council,” said the director of the HRA.

The Secretary General of the Association of Journalists of Montenegro, Ivan Milosevic, believes that in the field of media work, laws are not the biggest problem, but that it is a political influence on journalists. He pointed out that journalists must organize themselves and determine regulations, without waiting for politicians to do so. “The less we are with politicians, the more we will be with ourselves,” Milosevic concluded.

At previous roundtables, Trade Union of Media of Montenegro brought together more than 50 participants from the media community, including journalists, editors, journalists’ associations and civil society representatives involved in the work of the media.

The roundtables are part of the project “Improving Dialogue between Journalists’ Associations and Parliaments in the Western Balkans for a Stronger Civil Sector” funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and implemented by the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN).

Four applications for the director of RTCG

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PODGORICA, July 19th, 2021 – Four applications were received for the competition for the election of the General Director of the Radio-Television of Montenegro, which ended today.

The competitors were: the executive director of the Civic Alliance Boris Raonic, the journalist and former deputy editor-in-chief of “Dan” Nikola Markovic, the director of RTV Niksic Milutin Stijepovic, and the speaker at the Television of Montenegro Branislav Nikezic.

The final list of registered candidates will be known in a few days, as long as it is necessary to wait for applications to arrive by mail.

Media perspective of the National Public Broadcaster RTCG

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Photo: Jakob Owens / Unsplash.com

PODGORICA, July 16th, 2021 – National Public Broadcaster Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG) has a special place in the media space of a small European country. It will soon mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Television and the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the broadcasting of Radio Montenegro. For a long time, RTCG was the only media in the area where, according to the latest census, about 620 thousand inhabitants live. Thus, his influence in the past was inviolable. It is clear that influence and objectivity, in the new era of media, very often have no points of contact. That is why today we have several laws that should make the work of the media more responsible and useful for society. The problem is complex because the political elites in power very skilfully take control of certain media, so the text of these laws has been changed several times.

Today, RTCG broadcasts four television (1st and 2nd program, Satellite program and Parliamentary channel) and two radio channels, and also publishes information through the electronic publication Portal RTCG. After the digitalization of technical systems during 2019, the potential of that medium has significantly increased. In addition to technology, there is great potential for workers, of whom, according to the latest information from the current management, there are 728.

Significance of Articles 9 and 16 of the Law on National Public Broadcaster RTCG

The importance of RTCG is evidenced by the fact that there is a Law on National Public Broadcaster that strictly regulates work of this media. Law was passed in 2008. It was amended in 2012 and 2016 and finally the last changes were in July 2020. The Law emphasizes the role of the Public Service as a factor of social cohesion and integration of all social elements. It should be a source of impartial information and commentary as well as a broadcaster of diverse content of high ethical standards. It is a place for a broad public debate on all topics of importance to society. The Law guarantees the independence of the National Public Broadcaster RTCG. These and other items of Article 9 of that Law speak about the essence of the role of the most important media in Montenegro.

Article 16 of the Law on National Public Broadcaster RTCG is perhaps the most important because it refers to the work of journalists. “Journalists employed in RTCG are independent in their work and act in the interest of the public. Journalists cannot be terminated, their salaries reduced, their status in the newsroom changed or their responsibility determined due to an attitude or opinion expressed in accordance with professional standards and program rules.” These legal items are a great achievement for a more carefree and objective work of the journalists of the Public Service. It is interesting that this level of protection of journalists is not provided by other laws related to the media, so that all those who deal with journalism in other media are at potentially high risk of losing their jobs due to a publicly expressed opinion (true and objective) which is not in line with the editorial policy of the media in which they are employed.

The institute of the Ombudsman was finally established

Amendments to the Law on National Public Broadcaster from 2020 envisage the introduction of an element of self-regulation through the institute of the Ombudsman. The obligations that the RTCG Council, through the appropriate Commission for Petitions and Complaints of Listeners and Viewers had in the previous period, are transferred to the Ombudsman who was elected by the new convocation of the Council less than a year after the adoption of amendments to the Law. The issue of self-regulation in the coming period will have to be further elaborated because the conclusions of the Ombudsman, as well as the previous Commission, are adopted by the Council, which has no mechanisms for determining responsibility for omissions. This is also the opinion of the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro in the latest analysis on media freedom and the safety of journalists.

Radio and Television of Montenegro are considered by political elites to be powerful media weapons. This primarily refers to the news program and special shows that deal with political and social issues. News within the Morning Program and “Dnevnik 2” on Television are the most watched informative shows. However, the ratings have dropped significantly in recent years because a good part of the public perceives the editorial policy of RTCG as close to the interests of the former ruling Democratic Party of Socialists. Biased reporting from major events, organized by opposing political blocs, irritated the public, especially during 2020, when relations in the already polarized Montenegrin society were further strained after the adoption of the Law on Religious Freedom in late December 2019. During the previous year, there was a record number of verbal and physical attacks on journalists as a result of the political environment created by the then ruling elite.

The Law on National Public Broadcaster, even in the period before the last amendments, guaranteed the freedom of opinion to the journalists of the Public Service in accordance with professional standards. However, paper is one thing and practice is quite another. Rare RTCG journalists, who dared to criticize certain biased programs of their media, and which essentially represented direct damage to RTCG in a professional sense, while irritating a good part of the public, faced a strong attack from the management. One author’s show has was removed from the program and the editor is ordered to leave the office. In “Dnevnik”, in prime time, it was broadcasted content whose goal was to discredit the personality of that journalist. No one from the management suffered the consequences due to illegal behavior and causing non-material damage to the employee of the Television of Montenegro. After the public announcement of the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro and previous criticism of the European Commission due to the intention of the RTCG leadership to initiate disciplinary proceedings against journalists, the management gave up on further repressive measures.

One of the bigger problems concerns the fact that RTCG is mostly financed from the state budget, ie from the money allocated by the citizens of Montenegro. For that reason, the employees of the National Public Broadcaster are responsible to all citizens, and not to special national or political groups. This is especially emphasized in the Law. By replacing the thesis, the previous government created the impression that it depends on it whether the payments for the needs of the program and the salaries on the account of RTCG will be regular. Also, the impression among journalists was that among them there are those who are more and those who are less important in the production process. The current management rewarded the journalists of the news program with a variable amount of salary. Journalists who dealt with the most important social and political topics were also the most awarded. However, high cash allowances were generally not the result of an objective and extraordinarily accomplished professional task. The well-paid management, with well-paid journalists, who are in slang called “first fists”, created the editorial policy of RTCG in accordance with the policy pursued by the previous government. This situation has lasted for at least two decades, and it has been especially pronounced in the previous 7-8 years. For this reason, a large part of the public believes that the National Public Broadcaster RTCG is unjustifiably called “Public Service”.

It should be noted that the salaries of all full-time workers are regular for years and are paid at the beginning of the month. Following the recent adoption of a new collective agreement, wages have been increased and workers whose salaries have been raised to a relatively acceptable level from month to month through uncertain cash benefits no longer have the stress of whether or not they will receive a “variable”. Special credit for that belongs to the Trade Union of RTCG employees, which, after many years of negotiations, managed to improve the material conditions of the employees.

Workers who have temporary contracts are at a disadvantage. Contracts usually last a month and are extended as needed. They are usually hardworking and dedicated workers who strive to do their job well. Management sees the need for their engagement, but very difficult decide to give them contracts for an indefinite period. Such a practice in many cases lasts for years. The situation is similar with part-time workers, of which there were many more in the previous period. In some cases, part-time engagement lasted for years. No health or pension insurance was paid to the freelancers at the time of such engagement. On the other hand, it is a public secret that many full-time workers do not meet the norm for receiving a full salary, and there are cases when some of them have not appeared at their workplace for years. Many open irrationally long sick days. The question of the justification of their further engagement is never raised because the Law strongly protects workers employed for an indefinite period of time. In cases where the management tried to fire a worker, for whatever reason, RTCG regularly lost disputes in the courts and had to pay high court costs and compensation to the workers which is obliged to return to work.

Greater transparency in the work of management is necessary

The Law on National Public Broadcaster stipulates the obligation to make available to the public all activities of RTCG that are of general social importance. If one word had to describe the way of employment, the distribution of funds for workers’ salaries and program projects, prices and elements of recent digitization, then that word would be non-transparency. Digitization has brought the need to create new jobs and close old ones, which have no significance in the new era of RTCG. A new, appropriate systematization, while respecting the professional standards and needs of the National Public Broadcaster, would solve the problem of overstaffing that has existed for decades. It has long been calculated by figures how many workers Public Service really needs. Management tried on several occasions to make a new systematization, but in a way that did not instill confidence that it would benefit all employees, but above all people close to the management. By objective analysis of the current situation and impartial systematization (which will not be likened to personalities), RTCG could get its rightful place on the Montenegrin media scene, to the satisfaction of workers who would have much better salaries, and thus much more motivation to raise quality in performing tasks. Consequently, the audience would be satisfied and would appreciate professional journalism.

The latest amendments to the Law on National Public Broadcaster set out the rules for the election of members of the Council. Confidence has been raised that members will be selected on the basis of expertise and that their engagement will lead to the raising of professional standards in RTCG. In the previous period, there was no high level of trust in the work of the Council, and the reason is, among other things, the choice made by the previous convocations regarding the personalities of the former general directors of RTCG. It turned out to be a regular practice for top management to create editorial policy in full accordance with the policy of the government structure. After the election of the new Council, which recently announced a competition for the new general director, the public expects that “Public Service” will justify its name in the future and respect precisely defined items of the Law on National Public Broadcaster.

Danijel Celecki

 

The article was created as part of the project “Improving Dialogue between Journalists’ Associations and Parliaments in the Western Balkans for a Stronger Civil Sector”, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN).

The content of this article, as well as the information and views presented, do not represent the official views and opinions of Sida and BCSDN. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in this text is entirely copyrighted.

Report “Indicators for the level of media freedom and journalists’ safety in BiH 2020” presented

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Jahorina, July 16, 2021 – During 2020, a total of 26 cases of attacks, threats and pressure on journalists and media in Bosnia and Herzegovina were registered, including 3 physical attacks, 6 death threats and 7 attacks and threats against media outlets. The Free Media Help Line (FMHL), which operates within the BH Journalists Association, recorded 69 cases of violations of journalists ‘rights and media freedoms last year, including threats to journalists’ labor rights, mobbing, defamation lawsuits and violations of the right to free access to information – this was highlighted during the presentation of the report “Indicators for the level of media freedom and journalists’ safety in BiH 2020”, produced within the Western Balkans Regional Platform for Media Freedom and Safety (www.safejournalists.net) and with the support of the European Union.

More than 88% of public and private media outlets suffered financial damage during the pandemic, with the biggest losses related to revenue from marketing and other commercial activities.

„The authorities show no willingness to establish a media assistance fund and we are the only country in the western Balkans that has not approved media assistance packages to cope with the economic consequences of the pandemic. On the other hand, politicians are very active in trying to control editorial policies and create media content. It is particularly worrying that the public reputation of the media and the preservation of their independence are being talked about less and less. The impression is that many journalists, owners and editors of media outlets have ‘reconciled’ with political influences and pressures”, said the author of the report, Maja Radević from BH Journalists Association.

Last year’s survey on media freedoms conducted by BH Journalists in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation showed that more than 70% of BiH citizens believe that media freedom in the country is not present at all or is partially present, and more than half said that political dependence is fundamental obstacle to the work of the media in BiH. The poor economic position makes journalists susceptible to political influences and does not motivate them to take a professional approach to work. Many have below-average salaries and irregular incomes and are not paid regular pension and health insurance contributions, and sign contracts with employers on a monthly basis or for a slightly longer period. All this creates a feeling of constant economic insecurity and concern and in many newsrooms it directly leads to (self) censorship, selective publication of information and various types of pressure and mobbing.

During 2020, the most numerous were cases of threats and intimidation of journalists as well as various forms of pressures, which often came from representatives of government institutions. When it comes to threats and harassment, the number of cases of threats to journalists through social networks, hate speech and online violence has increased. In most such cases, the attackers will not be sanctioned. The passivity of institutions, above all prosecutors’ offices and courts, opens space for new attacks and encourages those who believe they can commit violence without punishment.

According to the FMHL register, in the middle of last year there were 289 active defamation lawsuits against journalists and the media.

Almost 80 percent of lawsuits against journalists and the media come from politicians and other public officials. There is an increasing number of so-called SLAPP lawsuits which, through high compensation claims, aim to endanger the financial survival of media outlets. In this regard, the initiative adopted last year in the BiH Parliamentary Assembly to amend existing defamation laws, which provides for stricter standards of acceptability, tolerance and proof of defamation in cases of public officials lawsuits against private persons is encouraging, and this is also the standard of the European Court of Human Rights “, stated Radević.

Reviewer of the report prof. dr. Lejla Turčilo from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo stated that this kind of a research is an exceptional basis for arguing about the vulnerability of journalists in BiH.

“It seems to me that there is still a lot of misunderstanding of the extremely difficult situation in which journalists and media in BiH find themselves. In situations where the social role of the media is limited, we have a serious problem in society. At the time of the pandemic, when we all somehow took refuge in our home, journalists did the exact opposite: they went out on the field, faced with an unknown virus, without protective equipment that was not available at the time, and tried to inform us about what was happening. I think that in the context of the pandemic, journalists and media, after the health sector, carried the heaviest burden”, said professor Turčilo.

She emphasized that it is necessary to pass the Law on Transparency of Media Ownership, as well as to improve the protection of journalists from online defamation and the deliberate spreading of misinformation and incitement by bots and other paid actors on social networks.

“When you wake up every morning with fear of what you will read about yourself on social networks, what insults you will get, then it is very difficult to do your job”, says Turčilo.

She added that the media in BiH often report unilaterally, without consulting several sources, and that they sometimes use sensationalist headlines and the so-called copy-paste journalism.

“However, these are still exceptions and most colleagues, fortunately, still work differently. That is why it is very important to talk about the pressures they face every day, both inside and outside their newsrooms”, concluded prof. dr. Lejla Turčilo.

Some of the most important recommendations in the report are: ensure the editorial independence of public broadcasters at the state and entity levels, as well as local public media, enact the Law on Transparency of Media Ownership and ensure transparent funding of media from budget funds at all levels of government, establish funds to assist the media at the cantonal, entity and state level in order to at least partially remedy the economic consequences of the pandemic and avoid shutting down certain media, develop special institutional mechanisms and legal solutions to combat hate speech, online violence and threats to journalists on web portals and social networks, and in accordance with the recommendations of the European Commission, to put pressure on the competent institutions to ensure more adequate protection of journalists through changes in criminal legislation and efficient prosecution of attacks on journalists within the judicial system.

Judicial Council’s report: More than half information requests rejected

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osce.org

PODGORICA, July 15, 2021 – In the report on the Judicial Council of Montenegro for last year, it is stated that in 2020, 33 requests for free access to information were submitted, but that more than half were rejected because they did not have the requested information.

“During the reporting period, a total of 33 requests were submitted to the Secretariat, which was decided by issuing a decision, ie notification, depending on the established facts. Acting on the submitted requests, 12 were approved, three were partially approved, one notification was sent and 17 requests were rejected, mainly due to the lack of requested information. The applicants for free access to information were non-governmental organizations, legal entities and individuals”, the report states.

It is added that in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Free Access to Information and the principles of transparency of government and the public’s right to know, the Secretariat respected the standards contained in ratified international treaties on human rights and freedoms, as well as generally accepted principles of international law.

BH Journalists: The verdict against the Žurnal magazine directly endangers the freedom and work of the investigative media

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SARAJEVO, July 13, 2021 – On July 7 this year, the Municipal Court in Sarajevo passed a first instance verdict sentencing the online magazine Žurnal and its editors Selvedin Avdić and Eldin Karić, as well as a former journalist of this media outlet Avdo Avdić on paying the total amount of more than 170,000 BAM, without interest.

This case is a defamation lawsuit filed against the editor and journalists of Žurnal by Gordan Memija and his company “FotoArt”. The subject of the lawsuit were the articles published by Žurnal in which Memija is connected with the members of the international drug cartel.

The Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association expresses deep concern over the amount of compensation in excess of 170,000 BAM determined by the Municipal Court in Sarajevo. If the mentioned verdict becomes final, the payment of that amount could seriously jeopardize the work of Žurnal magazine and the existence of the employees of this media outlet, as well as journalist Avdić.

The Steering Committee of BH Journalists is particularly concerned that the first instance verdict and the disproportionately high amount of damages are directed against journalists and editors of the online media outlet who nurture investigative journalism, whose stories have been repeatedly awarded for research on topics of public importance, and with strong social impact. In this context, we draw particular attention to the Council of Europe Declaration on the Protection of Investigative Journalism, which calls on member states to “protect and promote investigative journalism”, respecting Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the case law of the European Court in Strasbourg and others Council of Europe standards. The member states of the Council of Europe are explicitly called upon to “prevent disproportionate, worrying sanctions”, to ensure the free exercise of the journalistic profession, not to seize professional material or search work premises, ie. not to frighten media professionals, and especially investigative journalists. Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a member of the Council of Europe, has committed to respecting all declarations on the protection of media freedom, including the European Convention on Human Rights, which is the part of the foundations of the BiH Constitution.

We remind that recently the Municipal Court in Sarajevo issued a Decision on Enforcement according to which more than 212,000 BAM were confiscated from the account of the company “Avaz-roto press” for the purpose of collecting court penalties and costs of enforcement proceedings, following the verdict on defamation lawsuit dated 2009.

These two court decisions on defamation lawsuits and with enormously high damages claims can be interpreted as a direct threat to media freedom and attempts to stifle investigative journalism, but also endanger the reputation of judicial institutions due to justified suspicions that the verdicts are politically motivated and belong to the so-called SLAPP lawsuits. Such lawsuits, with huge damage claims that are directed against the survival of the media are one of the most current issues of the media community in the European Union, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, where the number of such cases is evidently growing.

We emphasize that there are currently close to 300 defamation lawsuits against journalists and media outlets in the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. More than 80 percent of prosecutors in these cases are politicians, representatives of the judiciary and other public officials.

The Steering Committee of BH Journalists Association

 

Investigation of murder of Dusko Jovanovic re-opened

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PODGORICA, July 10th, 2021 – In the previous months, the prosecution reopened the investigation of the murder of the editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper “Dan”, Dusko Jovanovic, to try to finally solve the most difficult case of the attack on journalists from 2004.

According to the information of Vijesti Television, they examined several witnesses, including some security interesting persons.

“The Higher State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica, in the case formed on the occasion of the murder of D.J. during April and May 2021, conducted a hearing of certain persons, and takes other measures and actions that are needed,” Higher State Prosecutor’s Office said.

The new government, led by Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic, recently promised to do everything possible to shed light on the case.

Jovanovic was killed 17 years ago in front of the “Dan” editorial office, since when the prosecution and the police have not determined who shot at him and why.

For the time being, only Damir Mandić from Podgorica has been convicted of participating in the murder, and in April 2017, the Court of Appeals confirmed his verdict of complicity and sentenced him to 18 years in prison.

Only two persons prosecuted for the attack on Sadikovic

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PODGORICA, July 9, 2021 – The Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Bijelo Polje has filed an indictment against E. D. (18) and N. O. (21) from Bijelo Polje for the criminal offense – violent behavior committed to the detriment of TV Vijesti journalist Sead Sadiković.

“In addition to the suspects, 12 persons were examined as witnesses, and an order was issued ordering the expert examination of medical documentation by a forensic specialist,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The ODT announced that on March 23, they submitted a motion to the Basic Court to order custody for E.D. and N.O., suspected of the criminal offense of violent behavior, but that the Basic Court rejected it as unfounded.

They also state that orders were issued for the expertise of the information and technical profession on that day and three days later to perform an analysis of the excluded video material and DVR devices.

“The expert submitted the finding and opinion on June 15, 2021, with previously explained and justified reasons for not acting in a shorter period of time. During the proceedings, all collected information obtained through the CB Bijelo Polje Police Administration was submitted, as well as official notes”, is written in the announcement.

On March 20, Sadiković was slightly injured in the head area, after a group of participants in the “patriotic” gathering first verbally and then physically attacked him. All the time – from the attack until today, he claimed that he was not hit only by two fellow citizens, but the prosecution prosecuted just two of them.