14 Nov 14
Montenegro MPs Demand Action on Media Hate Speech
Parliamentary Committee calls for tougher measures against media outlets that violate human rights and promote hate speech.
The Montenegrin Parliament’s Committee for the Political System and Judiciary has voted in favour of a total ban on media outlets that violate earlier prohibitions on the distribution of controversial content.
Parliament has now been recommended to adopt the regulation. All parliamentary parties, except the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, backed the proposed amendments to the Law on the Media at the session of the committee on Thursday.
Azra Jasavic, one of the MPs, said the aim was to protect the basic values of the constitution of Montenegro and the European Convention on Human Rights.
“This is not about any kind of censorship,” said Jasavic, adding that the measures are prescribed only for situations in which media fail to respects earlier court decisions.
The government has declined to back the measures, however, saying that the proposed amendments violate international standards of freedom of expression and Montenegro’s own constitutional framework.
The issue of professional and ethical principles and media standards, the Cabinet said in a statement, is under the jurisdiction of self-regulatory media bodies and independent professional organizations.
“The proposal relocates the right to freedom of expression under the control of the state prosecutor,” the government said.
The proposal follows the third court order in six months banning several articles published by the Belgrade-based tabloid newspaper, Informer.
The State Prosecutor sought a court ban on a number of Informer editions from July and October, and again in November, after the paper resumed its controversial campaign against the local rights activist and NGO head, Vanja Calovic.
Last week, ethnic Albanian leaders in Montenegro filed charges against the same tabloid, complaining about its its coverage of the recent aborted Serbia-Albania football match.
The front page of the newspaper referred to Albanians as “shiptari” – an offensive term for Albanians.
The ethnic Albanian member of the parlamentary committee, Genci Nimanbegu, said that this incident alone showed that changing the law on the media was necessary.
“The problem with Informer is not just one headline – it has expressed and fostered religious and ethnic hatred in several editions of the newspaper,” he said.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)