European Federation of Journalists

Montenegro: Public broadcaster threatens journalists for speaking out

Management of the Public Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG) have launched disciplinary proceedings against its editor Zoran Lekovic and journalist Nevenka Cirovic for exposing alleged irregularities at the broadcaster on social media. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) join the Trade Union Of Media of Montenegro (SMCG) in condemning this act of intimidation and call on managers to withdraw the threat.

Disciplinary procedures were initiated against Cirovic, SMCG’s vice president, and Lekovic due to Facebook posts in which they condemned numerous irregularities at the public media. The SMCG warned that the procedures could result in the dismissal of the two journalists.

“If that happens, it will be the final blow to the months-long persecution of Cirovic and Lekovic. In the last three months, Cirovic was given only two tasks and she was systematically ignored in the newsroom while Lekovic was removed from his show and a disciplinary process was launched against him”, claimed the SMCG in a statement.

The SMCG said: “We firmly believe that everyone has the right to freedom of speech, including journalists of the public service media in Montenegro. We will fight to retain that right and to prove that we must not be fired when we dare to express positions that are contrary to what our employer or the ruling elite think”.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “We condemn this act of intimidation and censorship against two journalists for expressing their opinions. It is unacceptable that the public media board launches disciplinary proceedings against journalists simply because they do not like their opinions. We urge RTCG to respect freedom of expression and withdraw the measures against our colleagues”.