Disclaimer
 
08 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 12 Apr 2016 n° 46/2016 Montenegro

Freelance Journalist and Fixer Jovo Martinović Tried for “Being a Member of a Criminal Organization”

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner RSF Article 19 CPJ ECPMF EFJ/IFJ
Partner RSF Article 19 CPJ ECPMF EFJ/IFJ
Mr. Jovo Martinović worked as a non-exclusive part-time fixer for a French documentary film “The Route of the Kalashnikov”, aired in France on Canal+ on 4 January 2016. The film examines the illegal flow of weapons from Balkans. Part of Mr. Martinović job involved helping trace underground weapons networks and included interacting with members of these criminal groups in the Balkans. Mr. Martinović was arrested on 22 October 2015 in relation to this assignment. He is accused of being a member of a criminal organization and of trafficking drug. The arrest warrant was issued by High court in Podgorica after the request of the Special State Prosecutor's office. On 12 April 2016, he still was in custody, waiting for his indictment and trial. Mr. Martinović has worked with several international media outlets including The Economist (UK), the Financial Times (UK) and M6 (France).
Updates
New 08 Oct 2020
On 8 October 2020, Jovo Martinović was sentenced by the High Court in Podgorica to one year in prison for drug trafficking. He was acquitted of the charges of membership in a criminal organisation. The journalist will not return to prison as he already spent 14 and a half months in detention. Reporters Without Borders reacted to the verdict calling it a “black day for media freedom in Montenegro”. Jovo Martinović announced an appeal, calling the decision “shameful and politically motivated”.
New 22 Sep 2020
On 15 September 2020, the High Court of Podgorica concluded the retrial of Jovo Martinović and announced that the verdict would be announced on 8 October.
04 Nov 2019
On 24 October 2019, the Court of Appeal in Podgorica quashed journalist Jovo Martinović’s 18-month jail sentence, stating that the prosecution failed to prove that he committed any crime or to produce enough hard evidence to justify a prison sentence. His retrial is expected to start within a few weeks.
15 Jan 2019
On 15 January 2019, the Higher Court in Podgorica sentenced Jovo Martinovic to 1.5 years in prison for alleged “drug trafficking and membership in a criminal organisation”. The journalist rejected the charges which he considers politically motivated. The verdict was condemned by international media freedom organisations and organisations of journalists. Jovo Martinovic announced that he would appeal the verdict.
09 Jan 2017
On 5 January 2017, journalist Jovo Martinović was released pending trial. The Court ordered Martinović to check in with police twice a month, and confiscated his passport. As a consequence, the alert was changed to level 2.
State replies
07 Dec 2016
Reply from Montenegro provided by the Ministry of Justice
Follow-ups
09 Jan 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes release of Montenegrin journalist and calls for conclusion of his case
Freelancers

Key information :

Jovo Martinovic

A freelancer journalist whose work has often focused organised crime in the Balkans. Martinovic has worked with several international publications including The Economist, Newsday, Global Post, The Financial Times and VICE, in addition to winning several international awards.
Open in a new window show-link
10 Jan 2020 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 07 Jan 2020 n° 2/2020 Montenegro

Journalist Anđela Đikanović Charged with “Causing Panic and Disorder”

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ RSF
Partner CPJ RSF
On 5 January 2020, police in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, arrested journalist Anđela Đikanović, editor-in-chief of the local news website FOS, according to a report by her employer. Following her arrest, the state prosecutor’s office charged Đikanović with “causing panic and disorder,” a criminal offense, and ordered her to be detained for 72 hours, according to that report. The allegations relate to an article Đikanović published on FOS earlier that day, which the website later retracted, according to a report by regional news website Balkan Insight. If convicted, Đikanović could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to one year, according to Montenegro’s criminal code. According to the Balkan Insight report, Đikanović’s detention was sparked by an article she published which alleged that the Montenegrin government was considering requesting security assistance from Kosovo to help quell protests. Following the publication of the article, the Montenegrin government denied the allegations, and FOS retracted the article and published an apology, according to Balkan Insight and the apology statement. On 6 January, FOS published a statement saying that Đikanović had been dismissed as editor-in-chief for a “serious professional error.” The journalist’s lawyer, Milos Vuksanovic, told Balkan Insight that Đikanović had appealed the state prosecutor’s ruling, and called her detention “shocking.” CPJ emailed the Montenegrin state prosecutor’s office for comment but did not immediately receive a reply.
State replies
10 Jan 2020
Open in a new window show-link
26 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 27 Jun 2018 n° 59/2018 Montenegro

Head of Public Broadcaster Sacked

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index RSF
Partner Index RSF
On 7 June 2018, The Council of the Montenegrin public broadcaster RTCG dismissed director Andrijana Kadija, an action seen by the local civil community and journalists as an attempt by ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) to stifle editorial independence, news website tol.org reported. The ostensible reason given for Kadija's dismissal was abuse of office and unprofessionalism, Montenegrin media reported. Six members of the RTCG Council voted to dismiss Kadija, and two voted against her dismissal. Kadija said that the RTCG Council's decision was political in nature and undermined the independence of the public broadcaster. “My only sin is that I am apolitical… I wanted a professional public service for all citizens, and while I was running it, our public service was truly independent. You are not dismissing me as incompetent, but as politically unsuitable”, CDM.me quoted her as saying during the Council meeting. As the RTCG Council met to vote on Kadija's dismissal, about 100 people gathered outside the body's headquarters to protest in support of her, Radio Free Europe reported. According to the same source, the Montenegrin Journalists' Association said RTCG staff were working under “tremendous political pressure” from the government, making it “difficult for reporters and editors to do their jobs professionally.” The European Union issued a statement in which it said that the dismissal of Kadija was “completely unacceptable” and went “against freedom of expression and media which is a fundamental value of the European Union”, news website EUobserver reported.
State replies
Open in a new window show-link
22 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 09 May 2018 n° 39/2018 Montenegro

Vijesti Investigative Journalist Olivera Lakić Shot and Injured

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
Investigative journalist Olivera Lakić who works for Montenegro based newspaper Vijesti was shot outside her home on 8 May 2018 around 9 pm in Podgorica by an unidentified gunman. Ms Lakić was injured in the right leg and sent to the hospital where her condition is described as stable.

Olivera Lakić is known for investigating crime and corruption in Montenegro. This attack is the second attack on the journalist after an earlier incident in 2012 when she was punched in the head multiple times following her reports on alleged illegal dealings involving a tobacco factory. The perpetrator was sentenced to jail and Olivera Lakic was put under police protection for a while.
Updates
20 Feb 2019
On 19 February 2019, Montenegrin police announced that they have arrested nine members of a criminal organisation who are suspected of shooting Olivera Lakić in 2018.
Follow-ups
09 May 2018
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the repeated assault on Olivera Lakić, investigative journalist at the daily Vijesti.
09 May 2018
CoE Secretary General shocked over the attack on investigative journalist in Montenegro
09 May 2018
OSCE Representative Désir strongly condemns shooting of journalist Olivera Lakić in Podgorica, call on authorities to bring perpetrators to justice
Open in a new window show-link
20 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 28 May 2018 n° 48/2018 Montenegro

Impunity in the case of the murder of Dusko Jovanovic

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On the evening of 27 May 2004, journalist Dusko Jovanovic, editor-in-chief of the opposition daily Dan in Montenegro, was shot dead while he was leaving his office in Podgorica. Unidentified individuals shot him in the head and chest with an automatic rifle as he was entering his car just after midnight. The daily newpaper Dan was closely tied the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic throughout the 1990s. Before the killing, the newspaper has faced numerous lawsuits for criticizing Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
Both Dan and Jovanovic's family reported that the editor had received numerous death threats, and the newspaper's office in Podgorica was set on fire in April 2003. The editor's wife, Slavica Jovanovic, testified before the court that the head of Montenegro's State Security Service, Dusko Markovic, had called her husband and threatened to kill him in April 2003, according to Dan.
On June 9 2004, police arrested Damir Mandic, a local organised crime figure. In October 2004, prosecutors charged Mandic with murder, citing evidence linking him to the vehicle used in the crime. While the indictment did not clarify the reason for the murder, the only motive discussed in the local press has been Jovanovic's work for Dan exposing government abuses.
In April 2009, Mandic was sentenced to 30 years in prison for being an accomplice in Jovanovic's murder. The lawyer representing the Jovanovic family and Dan staff has criticised the police investigation for failing to identify Mandic's accomplices; not identifying who ordered the killing; and not investigating possible links between Mandic and Montenegrin government authorities.
On 28 May 2018, the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro issued a statement demanding "to secure the conditions for carrying out an independent investigation of the assassination of Dusko Jovanovic" in order to "find and arrest the perpetrators and masterminds of the most grave violation against journalists in the history of Montenegro"
State replies
Open in a new window show-link
28 Aug 2018 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 07 Dec 2015 n° 102/2015 Montenegro

Gojko Raičević Regularly Targeted by Authorities in Montenegro

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 17, 18 and 24 October 2015, Gojko Raičević, editor-in-chief of news portal www.in4s.net was on working assignment reporting on protests of opposition parties in front of the Parliament at the centre of Podgorica. On 17 October 2015, Mr. Raičević was physically attacked by the police and arrested for covering the arrest of opposition MPs. On 18 October, Raičević was threatened by a police officer from a vehicle passing by, using gestures to threaten that they will continue with the beatings. On 24 October, Raičević was hit from the back with a baton by a policeman and ten minutes later a masked man got out of one of the police vehicles and, again without any reason or explanation, hit Mr. Raičević several times. A video has been recorded by the news team that shows the attack on the editor. IN4S portal claimed that the website was down every time the police were enforcing brutality against the participants.
State replies
Open in a new window show-link
28 Aug 2018 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 27 Oct 2015 n° 86/2015 Montenegro

Police Used Teargas Against a Group of About 30 Journalists

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 24 October 2015, riot police in Montenegro fired teargas at a group of around 30 journalists covering a protest of the opposition in Podgorica. The police targeted journalists despite the fact that they had yellow vests with the 'press' emblem on them provided by the ministry of Interior. According to board members of the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (Sindikat medija Crne Gore, SMCG), the police deliberately threw massive amounts of tear gas at a group of about 30 journalists who had fled a little away from the parliament building. Several journalists were badly injured on 24 October 2015, one journalist has been burned by tear gas shells while some others were attacked by demonstrators. Stones were thrown at TV Pink M because demonstrators did not agree with the editorial policy of the media considered as to close to the government. In a written statement, the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro has strongly condemned the use of teargas against journalists. The statement also asks for an “internal investigation” into whether the police overextended their power.
Updates
30 Nov 2015
Montenegro Council for Civil Control of Police acting upon the complaint of the Union of media of Montenegro adopted its conclusions about police treatment towards a group of journalists after demonstrations in Podgorica on 24 October 2015.
State replies
16 Nov 2015
Reply of the Ministry of Interior of the Goverment of Montenegro
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
Disclaimer
Open in a new window show-link

CONTACT US

Follow us   

Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.