Opposition “troika” would like to direct news programme; Vojvodic: This is unprecedented!

#MiodragLekić #ŽarkoRakčević #RankoKrivokapić #RadeVojvodić #PublicBroadcaster #IvanMitrović #MimoDraskovic #MilanRadović #RadojkaRutović #GoranĐurović

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The leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Demos and URA Civic Movement, Ranko Krivokapic, Miodrag Lekic and Zarko Rakcevic, sent a memo to RTCG public broadcaster suggesting what RTCG’s work should be like until the October general elections.

Thus, what many RTCG representatives were worried about finally happened. After direct interference in the human resources policy of this media outlet by an open demand for the dismissal of the former director Radojka Rutovic and her complete editorial team, the opposition trio began to think about editing programmes as well.

Lekic, Rakcevic and Krivokapic asked RTCG to prepare as many as possible theme broadcasts before the elections, so as to best inform Montenegrin public on the situation in the country.

The opposition troika believes it is very important for the public broadcaster to pay attention to the issues concerning the rule of law, economic problems Montenegro is facing with, the state of the public finances, health care system, agriculture…

“We believe that it is therefore necessary to organise as many thematic shows and debates as possible during the summer months and in September, in order for the Montenegrin public to have full information about the overall situation in the country”, they said in the memo sent to RTCG Council.

In addition to the fact that the three opposition leaders apparently believe that the public broadcaster does not provide Montenegrins with “full information on the overall situation in the country”, they comment even on specific shows. Although they did not specify their titles, they determined the topics and issues the shows should cover.

Dnevne Novine newspaper asked all members of the RTCG Council and the director general for comment on the memo sent by the three Montenegrin politicians.

The director general of RTCG Rade Vojvodic believes that it clearly represents a political pressure.

“It’s unprecedented. This is their political metastases and another pressure against the public broadcaster… Let them do their work, the public broadcaster will do its own. RTCG work in the interest of the citizens and not in the interests of political parties”, Vojvodic briefly commented.

On the other hand, a member of the RTCG Council Goran Djurovic does not believe it is a political pressure against the public broadcaster. He told Dnevne Novine that all members of the council had received the memo from the leaders of URA, Demos and SDP.

Djurovic added that MP for the Movement for Changes (PzP) Koca Pavlovic had recently asked the council about the way of covering certain topics and they had already established communication with him in order to comprehend the problems adequately.

“Representatives of political entities, as I understand, are expected RTCG to deal with important social issues inviting various entities to take part in it. RTCG has organised talk shows that are an integral part of its programme plan, which was adopted by RTCG Council. I believe that the RTCG Council will take position on the political entities’ representatives at the next session. I do not see memos and political parties’ interest in RTCG’s programme content as any pressure. On the contrary, within my scope of engagement in the RTCG Council I said I would advocate for periodic meetings between the council and all relevant social entities, NGOs, political parties, trade unions”, Djurovic said.

Professor Mimo Draskovic interprets the three politicians’ memo in a quite different way.

“Unfortunately, as a member of the council I received the memo and I see it as the most brutal form of continuing political pressure against the RTCG Council and the public broadcaster in general, which is seen in this way only in extreme dictatorship single-mindedness. The signatories of the memo apparently proclaim themselves for politicians, executives and editors at the same time. But unfortunately for them, this kind of lottery ticket has been losing one in the democratic world”, Draskovic told Dnevne Novine.

He added it was tragic that one of the signatories (Ranko Krivokapic) was OSCE PA president emeritus who had commented these and similar cases, until recently, as political pressures and threats against independence and freedom of expression.

Member of the RTCG Council Milan Radovic says that anyone can suggest things, the issue is only about the way he/she communicates it.

“The procedures are clear and defined by the Law on Internal Acts. The council adopts the plan, directors and editors implement it. The things proposed in the memo have already been included in the plan that we have adopted. The council must be open for communication, and the council is to make decisions later in accordance with the interests of the public”, Radovic said.

The member of the council Ivan Mitrovic also thinks that the public broadcaster should work in the interest of citizens, not the political parties. He pointed out that pre-election rules were established and that they would be applied by all the media.

“When it comes to the programme for this year, it was earlier adopted and it makes no sense that someone interferes and redraws the editorial policy of the public broadcaster. That would be a violation of international standards in this area. I believe in the professionalism of the people who produce the program and that they themselves would not allow political parties to interfere”, said Mitrovic.

He added that the council also had no right to interfere in editorial policy and that its obligation was to control the implementation of the plan adopted by the council and to check whether the public broadcaster served the citizens.

“So, there should be no political interference. I see this memo precisely as an attempt to political interference in the editorial policy of the public broadcaster, actually as a continuation of pressure against RTCG, which started a few months ago and resulted in the resignation of the former director”, Mitrovic said.

Professor Mimo Draskovic said there had been pressures earlier too and that some council members succumbed to it.

“Some of the council members have succumbed to the political pressures by ‘troika’ and legitimated ways and methods of those pressures. Some of them openly presented themselves as the direct perpetrators of the self-proclaimed media consultants. Encouraged by the result of shameful and unprecedented political pressure and resignations of director Rutovic and her editorial team, now maybe they imagine (as Iznogoud) that they are “caliph instead of the caliph”, ie. the council instead of the council and that the interference in programme and editorial policy of the public broadcaster is their natural right”, Draskovic said.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro