23 Oct 14
Greek Tycoon Saves Montenegro’s Oldest Paper
Petros Stathis will most likely be 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, on Wednesday submitted a formal bid for the bankrupt state-owned daily, as the only investor interested in buying the troubled outlet.
The Greek company, which already owns another Montenegrin daily, Dnevne Novine, has offered 700,000 euros. According to the company’s announcement, it will merge the two media outlets once the take-over of Pobjeda is formalized.
The newspaper, which marked its 70th birthday on Wednesday, faced bankruptcy three months ago as a result of its debts.
The Commercial Court in Podgorica in early October estimated that it owed its creditors more than 10 million euro.
Media reports say that the Greek company, which is also the lessee to the Montenegrin luxury resort, Sveti Stefan, will keep only about half of the current 197 employees.
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.
Once enjoying a circulation of tens of thousands, the number of readers has since tumbled, creating serious financial problems.
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 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.
Djukanovic’s government has tried hard to save the newspaper, but three attempts to privatize the daily since 2007 have failed.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)