PODGORICA, 30.06.2022 – Although the Law on Media introduced the principle of transparency in the financing of media from public revenues almost two years ago, the first such report, which refers to 2021, contains only partial data.

The reason is that the majority of public administration bodies ignored the legal obligation and did not submit the necessary data to the Ministry of Culture and Media.

“Public sector bodies show a critically low level of transparency. Out of a total of 663, 60 submitted reports, which is only nine percent. It is obvious that in the first year of application of the norms from the Media Law, which obliges public sector bodies to submit data on the funds they paid to the media on the basis of advertising and public services this obligation has been disregarded. During 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the competent Ministry sent notifications to the public sector bodies on the content of the obligations they have under the Law on Media, in order to try to prevent the danger that the majority does not submit data. It is obvious that this activity did not bring the required result “, states the report of that ministry.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Law on Media, the media are also obliged to submit such reports, but the Ministry is satisfied with their response.

“The report on the transparency of media financing from public revenues showed that the media showed a certain level of transparency. Out of the total number of media registered with the Agency for Electronic Media (AEM), 75 provided data on financing from public sector bodies, which is about 37 percent of active media. The media that dominate the Montenegrin market provided data. Those that did not provide data are mostly online publications established during 2022 or the previous few years, as well as most radio stations, “states the report.

Data from the report from two sources differ, so the media reported revenues from advertising and contracts with public authorities in the amount of almost four million euros without VAT, while the public sector reported half a million less.

“According to the data provided by the public sector bodies, a total of 3,360,197.13 euros was allocated for public services and a total of 115,276.28 euros for advertising and other contracted services. According to the data provided by the media, the amount paid for public services is 3,217,779.92 euros, and for advertising and other contracted services 769,725.00 euros”, the report says.

For non-compliance with this obligation, the Law on Media provides for penalties for both public administration bodies and the media, but the report does not state whether such proceedings have been initiated.