19 Jun 15
Montenegrin Media’s Plight Concerns Austrian FM
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurtz expressed ‘regret’ about attacks on journalists in Montenegro, on a visit designed to reinforce Vienna’s support for the country’s EU aspirations.
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurtz on Friday said recent attacks on journalists in the country were “very regrettable and should not happened”.
Speaking after a meeting with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Igor Luksic in Podgorica, he said he had came to Montenegro primarily to meet civil society groups and the media and hear what they have to say.
Stressing the importance of media freedom, he said he had heard of several such attacks on journalists in Montenegro lately, adding that without press freedom there is no democracy.
Pledging Austria’s support for all Western Balkan countries in their bids to join the EU, and especially Montenegro’s, Kurtz said that the rule of law and the fight against corruption were very important fields for aspirant countries in the region to work on.
During his visit to Podgorica, Kurtz also met President Filip Vujanovic and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
The visit comes a month after the publication of the 2014 press freedom report by the US-based watchdog Freedom House, which noted that press freedom in Montenegro had deteriorated since 2012.
Independent outlets, such as Vjesti, Dan, and Monitor, had suffered from a wave of lawsuits and hostile government rhetoric as well as physical attacks on reporters, the report noted.
In March, the European Parliament also voiced concern about the state of the media in Montenegro, deploring the fact that attacks on journalists and on media property had continued.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)