Daily Informer, Pobjeda and TV Pink M reacted to HRA press release published on the eve of 2 November, International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. HRA press release which pointed to cases of unresolved murders and attempted murders, torture and attacks on media property which remained uninvestigated and unpunished for years, has been falsely presented by these media as biased HRA report “on the state of the media in Montenegro” which allegedly unjustifiably failed to mention the attacks on these media that had happened recently in the context of protests in Podgorica.

With regard to TV Pink M, HRA reminds of its press release from 19 October 2015 in which we condemned stoning of this television during which journalist Ivana Drobnjak suffered injuries, and requested urgent and efficient investigation. In a press release published on 26 October 2015, HRA advocated jointly with some other CSO colleagues for efficient investigating and punishing of all attacks on the media.

The focus of our press release from 2 November was to point to crimes against the media which remained unresolved for 11 years (murder of Duško Jovanović), 8 years (murder of Srđan Vojičić), 8 years (attempted murder of Tufik Softić by beating), i.e. 2 years (activation of explosive device in front of Tufik Softić’s house), 3 cases of burning cars labelled as daily Vijesti’s (2011 and 2014), inefficient investigation of physical assault on journalist Mladen Stojović (from 2008), and unconvincing prosecution of beating of Željko Ivanović, (2007), which create an image of Montenegro as a state promoting impunity for crimes against journalists and the media.

HRA press release from 2 November was not a report on attacks on journalists in the context of recent protests, nor could the very nature of such press release allow the charges against TV Pink M editor for alleged false reporting of a criminal offence to be mentioned in any manner. HRA regrets the fact that daily Informer and TV Pink M decided to dedicate their media space on 2 November to malicious attack on HRA, instead to solidarity towards colleagues and advocacy for punishing all attacks on journalists that remained unjustifiably unresolved for years.

The fact that the second part of HRA press release stated the number of recorded threats and attacks on journalists and media property from the beginning of the year where it was pointed that HRA recorded 8 attacks during the protest and that we will analyse them in more detail in the report which will be published at the end of the year, has been unjustifiably ignored.

The report will be published once HRA collects enough information on the nature of the attacks, whether they have all been reported to the police or the state prosecutor, and what steps have the competent authorities undertaken so far to identify and punish the perpetrators.

The example of reporting of daily Pobjeda, which criticized HRA because it failed to mention that the “editor in chief of daily Pobjeda, Draško Đuranović was the direct target of the demonstrators, which had severely insulted him and threatened him brutally”, speaks enough on contradiction of the available information. On the other hand, Đuranović himself said recently in a TV show that the incident caused only a discomfort for him in relation to which he did not want to press criminal charges and did not want to make “a circus” of it. Unfortunately, with such fostering of personal conflicts, daily Pobjeda, daily Informer and TV Pink M manage to turn serious and sometimes tragic efforts to establish freedom of media in Montenegro into “a circus”.

Tea Gorjanc Prelević, HRA executive director

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Overview of polemic between HRA executive director and the editor in chief of daily Pobjeda

HRA has published on 1 November 2015  a press release on the occasion of the International Day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, which is being marked on 2 November every year.

Daily Pobjeda reacted to the press release by publishing on page 7 an article entitled Media divided into “ours” and “theirs“. The article (in Montenegrin) is available here.

HRA executive director replied same day requesting daily Pobjeda to publish the reply, which is available here (in Montenegrin). Daily  Pobjeda published the reply on pages 10 and 11 on 4 November 2015. The article (in Montenegrin) is available here.

The following day, on 5 November 2015, the editor in chief of daily Pobjeda, Draško Đuranović, replied by an an article titled Logic of grant, which was published on p. 8 (see here).

The same day, the executive director of Human Rights Action sent a response which can be read (in Montenegrin) here. Daily Pobjeda published this reply on the same page and place where the editor published his response. The article is available here.

The following day, 7 November 2015, daily Pobjeda published on page 8 a response of the editor in chief of daily Pobjeda, Draško Đuranović, entitled Self-harm which is available here.

On same day, HRA executive director  sent a response to this answer which daily Pobjeda published on page 8 (available here).