News / Europe

    Attacks Against Montenegro Media Raise International Concerns

    FILE - Editor-in-chief of Montenegro's leading daily Vijesti, Mihailo Jovovic looking through a window damaged in a bomb blast at the newspaper's offices in Podgorica, Dec. 27, 2013
    FILE - Editor-in-chief of Montenegro's leading daily Vijesti, Mihailo Jovovic looking through a window damaged in a bomb blast at the newspaper's offices in Podgorica, Dec. 27, 2013
    Milena Djurdjic
    Attacks against independent newspapers and journalists have been increasing over the past few years in Montenegro, but two recent incidents are raising concerns and condemnation from human rights groups, free press advocates and U.S. officials.
     
    An attack against Lidija Nikcevic of the newspaper Dan, which led to her hospitalization in early January, and the detonation of an explosive device outside the offices of the Vijesti daily in late December have led to calls for Montenegro’s government to investigate and prosecute those responsible.  
     
    Delphine Halgand, director of the Washington, D.C. office for Reporters Without Borders, says impunity is unacceptable for a country aspiring to become a member of the European Union and should not be the rule in Montenegro. She notes that journalists working for independent media such as Vijesti, Dan and Monitor magazine have been regularly attacked or threatened since the murder of Dan editor Dusko Jovanovic in 2004.

    “We don’t see any kind of willingness on the part of the government to resolve those attacks,” said Halgand. “What’s worse than that, we observe that no one responsible for these attacks has been brought to justice. That is why we are calling authorities, especially the prime minister, to condemn the violence and to do whatever it takes to stop these attacks, beginning with bringing to justice persons responsible.”

    U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Yee also strongly condemned the attacks on the office of Vijesti and against journalist Nikcevic, saying “We are concerned about what appears to be an emerging pattern of violence and intimidation in Montenegro, against journalists, against media outlets. We…strongly call on [the] government of Montenegro to investigate these incidents and to bring to justice those responsible…”
     
    Robert Hand, a policy advisor to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, says Montenegro is a close friend and a possible future ally of Washington, but it has to be held to the same standards as other OSCE members.

    “When something like this happens, we need to respond to it,” Hand said. “And in addition, we may have some higher expectations of Montenegro because it has accomplished so much in recent years and aspires to join the European Union, possibly NATO, things like that, and therefore we have these higher expectations, so for those reasons, when we hear about the incidents that are occurring, they are of great concern.”
     
    Karin Karlekar from the independent watchdog organization Freedom House says Montenegro currently ranks 74th out of 197 countries in terms of press freedom, putting it in the category of “partly free.”
     
    “Basically this has led to a climate of impunity because very few of the attacks have been investigated properly or prosecuted, so it is definitely an issue of concern because we’ve seen in a number of other media environments around the world that this level of attacks against journalists can really lead to restrictions on media freedom because it can lead to a climate of fear and self-censorship,” she said.
     
    Freedom House and the Helsinki Commission also emphasize that journalists have to be protected, crimes investigated and those responsible brought to justice. Hand says until that happens, concern remains warranted.

    “It is not just enough to express outrage about these actions and condemn them, but there needs to be follow-up so that the message is sent to whoever is doing it, that it is not going to be tolerated.”

    He adds that such attacks can also affect prospects for Montenegro joining the EU, since Brussels has already expressed some concern about the media in Montenegro.

    “I don’t want to overblow it and say that the situation is so severe that there are going to be problems," he said. “But certainly it is something that Montenegro, the Montenegrin government and Montenegrin authorities need to be aware and they need to pursue. The country needs to have a free media; it needs to have journalists who are allowed to criticize.”

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora