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Self-censorship remains major challenge in Montenegro - RSF

Author Radomir Ralev
Self-censorship remains major challenge in Montenegro - RSF Media freedom

PODGORICA (Montenegro), April 18 (SeeNews) - Montenegro retreated one place to 104th position in the annual World Press Freedom index of Reporters Without Borders, as self-censorship remains a major challenge, the non-governmental organisation said on Wednesday.

As in previous years, journalists were harassed and threatened by the country’s rulers and their loyalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its 2019 World Press Freedom Index report.

Among Southeast European countries, media freedom was more restricted only in Bulgaria, which ranked 111th, respectively.

The authorities continue to pressure the public broadcaster RTCG to change its independent editorial policy, RSF noted.

"In June 2018, they dismissed its general manager Andrijana Kadija, and replaced her and several key managers with supporters of the ruling DPS party."

Professional media outlets have had to cope with serious economic difficulties as the vast majority of state institutions support the pro-government media by placing advertisements in their publications. 

RSF specifically mentions journalist Olivera Lakic, who was shot in the leg in May 2018. Like in many previous physical attacks on journalists, Lakic's case is still unsolved. Self-censorship continues to be a major challenge, RSF said.

"Jovo Martinovic, an investigative reporter accused of drug trafficking, recieved an eighteen month sentence in January 2019 and will appeal this decision hoping to be acquitted. The international community has condemned the verdict."

Although defamation has been decriminalised since 2011, several lawsuits have been filed against independent journalists and media, RSF noted.

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.