SEEMO Calls on Media in Montenegro to Respect Professional Standards and Code of Ethics during the Official Mission to Montenegro from 6 to 9 June 2012

June 2012

VIENNA, June 13, 2012 – The Vienna-based South East European Media Organisation (SEEMO) believes that press freedom goes hand in hand with professional reporting and respect for a code of ethics. During the official mission to Montenegro, SEEMO has observed that certain media breach the country’s adopted Code of Ethics.

Montenegro’s media are polarised for a variety of political and economic reasons, and due to their apparently insurmountable differences they have not been able agree on creating one single self regulatory body. Thus, three have been created in the past month, although they are not all fully operational.

SEEMO hopes that once operational, the self regulatory bodies will exert control over the use of degrading, vulgar and offensive language that has been used by media outlets, especially the state-owned daily Pobjeda.

SEEMO considers that the type of language used by Pobjeda during the past year devalues the role of media in a society, degrades women and affects the journalistic profession as such.

On June 29, 2011, to give one example, Pobjeda referred to a female journalist using the following description: “Milka Tadic, director of Monitor, widely known as Milo’s ballerina, or more precisely, dancer on the table of the Montenegrin master. Two men looked under her skirt and were shocked by the size of Milka’s balls.” Milo refers to Montenegro’s former president and prime minister Milo Djukanovic.

In reference to other journalists, male and female, the following expressions have been used: cattle with a birth certificate, scum, whore in pants, goose, slut, easy make, good pussy, sucker, etc. This disrespectful language is accompanied by descriptions of people’s private lives, diseases and sexual practices, which are disrespectful of individuals and their privacy.

“SEEMO’s mission is to defend press freedom,” said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.”However, SEEMO also believes that media professionals should comply with professional standards and the code of ethics. Disagreement can be expressed in a respectful way. All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity. I call on all media in Montenegro to observe Code of Ethics. Press freedom is not the freedom to insult and degrade,” he added.