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PODGORICA (Montenegro), April 25 (SeeNews) - Media freedom in Montenegro is at the third lowest level in Southeast Europe, as self-censorship and safety of journalists remain major challenges, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Wednesday.
Journalists are harassed and threatened by the country’s rulers and none of the physical attacks on them was punished in 2017, the international non-governmental organisation said in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index report.
Montenegro remained at 103rd position in 2018 edition of the annual index out of 180 countries surveyed worldwide. Among Southeast European countries, media freedom was more restricted only in Macedonia and Bulgaria, which ranked 109th and 111th, respectively.
"The authorities have stepped up pressure on the public broadcaster RTCG to change its independent editorial policies, and have placed leading supporters of the ruling DPS party in key positions at RTCG," RSF noted.
RSF specifically mentions investigative reporter Jovo Martinovic, who was accused of drug trafficking and was released on bail in early 2017 but is still awaiting the outcome of his trial.
Defamation has been decriminalized since 2011, but lawsuits against independent journalists and media are common, RSF said.
Published by RSF annually since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries using the following criteria – pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.