Discussion about a media self-regulatory body in Montenegro

Discussion about a media self-regulatory body in Montenegro

Forming of a single self-regulatory body in Montenegro is absolutely possible, said Secretary General of the Media Self-Regulatory Council (MSS) Ranko Vujović, adding that whether this is the right moment for that it is another question altogether.

According to Vujović, in order to implement the Journalists’ Code of Ethics evenly and in a cohesive manner interpret certain borderline situations in media, the existence of a single self-regulatory body in Montenegro is of utmost importance.

“Without a single body it is not possible to fully develop professional standards in the media, or develop ethics in media”, Vujović told to Mina Agency.

He explained that a single body means that all media in the country are ready to be subjected to the judgment of their profession.

Vujović believes that several different self-regulatory models would not improve professionalism in the media.

He reiterated that the model of a single self-regulatory body is dominant in Europe, and that self-regulation through media ombudsmen is rare and can be seen only in a couple of dailies in Great Britain, which are serious media outlets with long tradition of objective reporting.

Vujović warned that propaganda in journalism could only lead to some form of short-term benefit for an individual or a group, but in the long run they would only see damages from such journalism. Asked about the initiative for forming of the association for media self-regulation, that would cover all self-regulatory bodies that operate in Montenegro, Vujović said that it was the result of the negotiations between MSS representatives and a Vijesti and Dan daily representative.

During the negotiations, they reached a model in accordance to which the ombudsmen and MSS would continue to individually function and resolve complaints, as is the case currently, and the novelty should have been forming of a second-degree commission in case of complaint to the decisions reached by MSS or some of the ombudsmen.

Deputy Editor in Chief of Dan daily Nikola Marković, on the other hand, said that it is unrealistic to expect that a single self-regulatory body could be formed in Montenegro.

He believes that, if someone wants to write honourably, responsibly and professionally, he does not need a self-regulatory body.

“It is a good thing that self-regulation exists and I believe that there should be some form of self-regulation. We have various practices in Montenegro, we have a self-regulatory body with part of the media as its members, and we have media outlets with their own self-regulatory bodies, usually in the form of ombudsmen, as in case of Dan, Vijesti and Monitor”, Marković said.

At this moment, he remarked, it would be unrealistic to expect the establishment of only one self-regulatory body, adding that in the Dan daily they do not share neither the moral nor the professional standards with some of the media outlets operating in Montenegro.

“I cannot imagine that the media outlet I manage could sit in the same self-regulatory body with the outlets such as Informer and Pink, since they do not respect elementary rules of the profession and their goal is not reporting in the public interest”, Marković pointed out.

He added that they are ready to talk about cooperation and setting up the climate for serious media outlets to discuss and deal with the issues of self-regulation, expressing hope that establishing of such a body would not be used against the media that are critical towards the government.

The Journalists’ Code of Ethics was signed in 2002, and Marković noted that in the meantime new media forms and practices in media community emerged, not only in Montenegro but also in the region and globally, and thus there was the need for its modernization./ibna