The media in Montenegro are seen as a “mirror of polarized Montenegrin politics”. About 300 publications have been reported to the Ministry of Information. However, only 50 of them appear regularly. The print media are divided into state and private media. The state media are heavily subsidised, making it difficult for the independent press to remain competitive. The most important newspapers include Dan, which is the most widely read newspaper with a circulation of 20,000 copies. It can be classified as pro-Serbian and critical of the government. The second largest newspaper Pobjeda (“The Victory”) is the oldest Montenegrin newspaper. The Vijesti (“News”) is also a government-critical newspaper supported by the German WAZ and enjoys the highest confidence among the Montenegrin population (45.7%).
Concentration of the press market
The Montenegrin capital Podgorica is regarded as the country’s media centre. Daily newspapers, magazines and periodicals are all based there. Print media are among the most popular information channels in Montenegro. However, the economic situation also threatens newspaper publishers, as the population often cannot afford the newspaper. In total, a daily circulation of 60,000 copies appears, which corresponds to about 10 percent of the population.
Organisation of broadcasting
In 2003, a Broadcasting Act was adopted containing general rules, provisions on the Montenegrin Broadcasting Agency, the independent regulatory authority, rules on the procedure and conditions for granting broadcasting licences, and rules on the Company for the Transmission and Distribution of Broadcasting Signals. The Broadcasting Act is integrated into the legal system. RTCG is a public broadcaster based in Podgorica and has been a member of the EBU since 2006. According to the Act on Public Broadcasting Services, it carries out the transformation from a state broadcaster to a public broadcaster.
Concentration of the broadcasting market
There are about 25 television channels. The state-run national television RTV Crna Gora operates three TV channels and two radio programmes. There are also three state-owned local stations in Budva, Niksic and Pljevlja, as well as numerous private television stations. Among the most important are Elmag, Montena, Blue Moon, IN, NTV Antenna, ATLAS, PINK and their subsidiary TV PINK M. The private channels reach about 85 percent of the country and are financed by advertising revenues. In addition, two programs of the Italian state television RAI can be received.
Montenegro also has about 50 radio stations. Of these, 26 are local stations that are financed by the respective municipal treasury and controlled by local authorities. State radio stations only operate RTCG in Podgorica (Radio 98 and Radio CG). Private stations are booming. In the last 10 years alone, 15 new radio stations have been founded. In addition, two Serbian state stations can be received; the national station UNEM Radio MIR enables the Albanian minority to listen to the radio in their native language.
Organisation of the Internet
Online media are not widespread in Montenegro. There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, the Yugoslav civil war did not sufficiently expand the network. Only about 20 out of 100 households have a landline telephone connection. In addition, the expensive purchase of computers poses a major problem for the population. In contrast, the use of mobile phones and thus also the mobile Internet is increasing rapidly. Today, around 60 percent of the population uses the Internet to search for information. This figure has doubled in the last four years5. Newspaper publishers often already offer online versions. However, the processes are still so slow that the current online edition can only be uploaded with a time delay and therefore does not appear on the same day as the print edition. A blogger scene in Montenegro is only rudimentary.
Communicative basic order – freedom of press, opinion and information in…
…of constitutional theory
Since independence, Montenegro has endeavoured to meet EU requirements and directives and to improve the situation in its own country. Freedom of the press, opinion and information are enshrined in the constitution. A report by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in 2007 states: “In Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the media play a more self-confident role than in Serbia; in all three states there are very good media laws with corresponding control mechanisms, so that these can be put into practice “.
Nevertheless, in practice there are always setbacks, as the government and rulers of the country try to control the media and do not consistently pursue the laws. This is also evident in the indices.
…the state laws
The Secretariat for Information of Montenegro – consisting of local experts and journalists – adopted a new media law in 2002 in co-operation with the Council of Europe, which was implemented in 2003. It contains a press law, a broadcasting law and a law on the public broadcaster Radio Montenegro and Television Montenegro.
The Media Act deals with the conformity of the provisions of the Act with the principles of the Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It also regulates the establishment of individual media as well as media distribution and provisions for foreign media in Montenegro. It also lays down criminal law provisions and transitional provisions.
A new law on electronic media was negotiated in 2009. It is intended to provide the government with a regulatory framework to stimulate the development of the market. The independent regulatory authority ARDCG criticised this development. However, a law that came into force in 2008 withdrew a number of responsibilities from the ARDCG, but did not allocate them elsewhere. As a result, the granting of licences and rights for broadcasting use is indefinite.
There is currently a Media Act, the Electronic Media Act, the Broadcasting Act, the Broadcasting Act and the Broadcasting Service Act.
…the regulation of the press and broadcasting market
The Broadcasting Council is the supreme body for programme control. It monitors compliance with the legal broadcasting mandate and consists of representatives of the syndicate, NGOs and media associations. Although the members are not politicians, they are appointed by the ruling coalition. That is why this procedure is often criticised by the opposition.
The media system has developed very rapidly since independence. Despite numerous media laws, the state’s influence on the press market and broadcasting is enormous because the laws are not consistently enforced. In 2009, an amendment to the law was passed to regulate the financing of the public broadcaster RTCG. Since then, it has no longer been financed by broadcasting fees but by the government, which contradicts the criteria for a public service broadcaster adopted in 2002. Since then, the RTCG has again been politically and financially dependent on the government. Parliament controls all central functions and mainly uses government loyal rapporteurs. The Pobjeda newspaper is also controlled by the government. Nevertheless, the independent media are gaining more and more popularity and credibility as they have managed to maintain professional reporting despite sanctions, threats from Yugoslavia during the NATO bombardment, the state of emergency and several lawsuits against Montenegrin journalists.
…the regulation of the Internet
The Internet is basically not restricted. However, it can be assumed that the online pages of the respective newspapers are also subject to control according to the print edition, for which there is no legal basis.