Members of the Parliament of Montenegro: Ms Aleksandra Vuković, Mr Momčilo Martinović, Mr Mihailo Anđušić and Mr Aleksandar Damjanović participated in the conference on "Upholding the freedom of expression, including media freedom, and beyond”, which took place in Prague on 15 June 2018.
This conference, organised by the European Parliament in cooperation with the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, is part of the 2018 European Parliament Support Programme for the parliaments of pre-accession countries.
The event was opened by Mr Ondřej Benešík, Chairperson of the Committee on European
Affairs of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, and Ms Barbara Spinelli, Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament. The participants were also addressed by Mr Radek Vondráček, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
The introductory speech was delivered by Mr Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, where he particularly emphasised the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of media, as pillars of democratic societies.
The conference, inter alia, discussed the role of media in political debate, particularly during the election process as well as the importance of transparent ownership structure of the media. The agenda also covered the phenomena of fake news, their influence on creating the reality and the need for much better media education, in order to make it easier to recognise the real news in comparison to propaganda.
The participants of the meeting devoted a special attention to security, protection of journalists and protection of whistle-blowers. In that regard, Mr Aleksandar Damjanović critically referred to current events on the Montenegrin media scene, concluding that there was no freedom of media without adequate protection of journalists, and that the state's obligation is essential to address this issue.
As for media regulation, MP Momčilo Martinović stressed that necessary changes and revision of the umbrella media laws were needed, as well as that it was necessary to create a dialogue for public officials, the NGO sector and journalists, in order to create the conditions for better protection of freedom of expression as one of the fundamental political rights.
Aside from MEPs and members of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, the meeting was attended by parliamentarians from the WB countries, representatives of journalists, international organisations and experts from the media field.