03/05/2010 On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day

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Human Rights Action expresses its hope for an agreement on independent and professional journalism importance, necessary in democratic European society, to be established by fundamental law reform in Montenegro as soon as possible. Six years we’ve been expecting the authorities to effectively and efficiently identify who has killed “Dan” chief editor Dusko Jovanovic and why, as well as who has attacked journalists Tufik Softic, Mladen Stojović and Zeljko Ivanovic and why, and whether the attacks were connected with topics covered by those journalists.

In Montenegrin courts practice we have seen that the honor, especially that of politicians in high positions, is valued more than life itself. There has been no tolerance for author’s strong criticism, sarcasm, dose of exaggeration and insult, that should be protected by freedom of expression in an open democratic society in common interest debates. Investigative journalism is being punished, rather than being awarded as the value of common interest, following the example of countries with much longer democratic tradition than Montenegro.

Human Rights Action advocates decriminalization of defamation and law reform that would introduce European standards into the Montenegrin law and thus establish consensus on the importance of free and professional journalism in Montenegro.

Tea Gorjanc Prelević,

Human Rights Action Executive Director