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news 27 Jun 14

Montenegro Bans Newspaper’s Sex Claims Against Activist

A court has temporarily banned distribution of several editions of the Informer tabloid which contain inflammatory articles accusing prominent Montenegrin activist Vanja Calovic of bestiality.

Dusica Tomovic

Montenegro's Basic Court on Friday temporarily banned distribution of the editions of Informer in which Vanja Calovic, the head of a prominent NGO and a well-known government critic, is accused of bestiality - although the newspapers have already been on sale for some time.

A court spokesperson explained that a judge would decide within 48 hours whether to impose a permanent ban on any edition of the newspaper that carries the allegations that Calovic had sex with her dogs.

Last week, the Montenegrin edition of the Belgrade-based Informer released a video recording which it said offered “proof that Calovic is an animal abuser”.

The paper went on to publish front-page stories for several days in both Serbia and Montenegro asking readers to "investigate" whether it was Calovic in the video.

Calovic insisted on Thursday that the video was a fake and said that she was being subjected to “the dirtiest campaign ever registered in Montenegro”.

Calovic’s organisation, MANS, is an influential NGO in Montenegro and its work on corruption, organized crime and the misuse of state funds has brought it into conflict with the government.

The NGO has particularly angered the authorities in recent months by publishing several reports and audio recordings which it claimed provide proof of serious wrongdoing by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic’s governing Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS.

In a speech in parliament on Wednesday, Djukanovic stopped short of condemning the campaign in Informer but instead said that the authorities should investigate whether the alleged sex tape was authentic or not.

He called on Calovic to "tell the public" whether she appears in the footage.

But Calovic on Thursday accused the head of an NGO called the Institute for Public Policy, Vladimir ‘Beba’ Popovic, who is rumoured to have close links to Djukanovic, of behind what she called the "montage".

"I understand Djukanovic's hysteria because we prevented him from winning an absolute majority in Podgorica," Calovic said.

Popovic used to be the information chief for the Serbian government and has recently been accused by some critics of being an informal media adviser to Djukanovic and Serbian premier Aleksandar Vucic, and of being behind media attacks on their opponents.

Calovic said that the person who initially posted a still image from the video on the internet had forgotten to edit out their email address, [email protected], from the screen-grab they made on their computer.

"According to official data, the address is used for the registration of the website of Popovic's Institute for Public Policy," Calovic said.

Popovic retorted on Thursday that he would sue Calovic "for the lies she's been spreading about me".

"It's an absolute lie, I have nothing to do with the tape," he said.

"The recording was created long before I arrived in Podgorica and became a problem for her media patrons who are telling lies about me," he added.

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