18 Nov 14
Greek Tycoon Buys Montenegro’s ‘Pobjeda’ Newspaper
Greek businessman Petros Stathis is the new owner of Montenegro’s oldest newspaper, Pobjeda, which has been heavily in debt and struggling to survive for years.
Stathis’ company, Media Nea, took over the bankrupt state-owned daily on Monday, as the only investor interested in buying the troubled outlet.
The Greek company, which already owns another Montenegrin daily, Dnevne Novine, offered 750,000 euros for the newspaper.
According to earlier company announcements, it will merge the two media outlets and keep only about half of the current 197 employees in Pobjeda.
The company, which is also the lessee to the Montenegrin luxury resort, Sveti Stefan, will set up a new management and editorial team by December 1.
Media Nea director Boris Darmanovic said that the company aimed to raise professionalism and respect media ethics.
“Pobjeda’s new editorial team, which will be appointed soon, will think for themselves, in compliance with all ethical principles and the sustainable business policy of the company,” Darmanovic told the media.
Pobjeda faced bankruptcy three months ago. The Commercial Court in Podgorica in early October estimated that it owed creditors more than 10 million euro.
In 2013, the government took over its most valuable property, its administrative headquarters in Podgorica, as a compensation for 5 million euro it owed in taxes.
Set up by the victorious Yugoslav Partisans towards the end of the Second World War – the name means “Victory” – the newspaper was originally a newsletter of the new Communist authorities in Montenegro.
Its role was much criticised in the Balkan wars of the Nineties when it was accused of conducting “war propaganda and patriotic journalism” and of displaying blind loyalty to the then Montenegrin leadership.
More recently, the editors and managemement have been accused of serving the interests of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic in his battles with his political opponents.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)