On October 1, 2019, Patrick Penninckx, head of the Information Society Department, met Aleksandar Bogdanovic, Minister of Culture of Montenegro, in Cetinje, in order to discuss about the current legislative reform of the media policy area, and the Future co-operation between the Council of Europe and Montenegro in the field of freedom of the media.
During the meeting, Minister Bogdanovic emphasized the successful cooperation with the Council of Europe so far, which, as he emphasized, was particularly significant in terms of expert support in the area of media legislation reform in Montenegro.
In 2017, a Media Sector Inquiry was carried out in Montenegro within the framework of the EU/CoE Joint Programme “Reinforcing Judicial Expertise on Freedom of Expression and the Media in South-East Europe” (JUFREX) as a support to the country in the framework of the European Integration Process. The aim of this exercise was to define recommendations that could serve as a guide for setting and implementing national media policies.
The Council of Europe provided the legal opinions on the draft Law on Media and the draft Law on the National Public Broadcasting Radio and Television in the framework of the JUFREX program. The draft law was finalised in June, a public debate with the participation of Council of Europe consultants was organised in July. Once comments from public debate and Council of Europe consultants incorporated in the text, the draft will be submitted to the Council of Europe for a legal opinion. According the Montenegrin authorities, the new draft law will be submitted before the end of 2019.
During the meeting, the upcoming start of the second phase of the JUFREX Horizontal Facility program for the Western Balkans and Turkey, for the period 2019-2022, was also discussed. The program aims for normative-institutional protection and promotion of freedom of expression and the principles of sustainable democracy as well as the implementation of high standards of the European legal framework as an important precondition.