MONTENEGRO: Lawsuit against Vijesti - Montenegro

MONTENEGRO, 28/02/2008

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), appeals to Montenegrian ex-president and former prime minister Milo Djukanovic to drop his one million Euro lawsuit against Vijesti, Montenegro's leadingnewspaper.

SEEMO first spoke out against the lawsuit when, on 6 September 2007, Milo Djukanovic pressed defamation charges against Zeljko Ivanovic, founder and director ofVijesti, a Podgorica-based daily, Ljubisa Mitrovic, the publication's editor-in-chief, as well as its publishing house, "Daily Press". Djukanovic is expected to return to the prime minister post.

SEEMO encourages Djukanovic to seize the opportunity provided by his new mandate by dropping all charges against the publication as a sign of good will. Such a move would constitute a first positive step, and serve as a signal that the government permits and even encourages freedom of speech, a vital aspect of true democracies.

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