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news 24 Nov 16

Montenegro Accused of Rigging State TV Competition

The sudden cancellation of the competition for a new public TV chief has fuelled claims that the ruling party wants to regain its old influence over the public TV after six months when it was run by the interim administration approved by the opposition.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
 
 Photo: Wikipedia/ Wing1990hk.

Montenegrin journalist Marko Milacic has filed a complaint against the management of the public broadcaster, RTCG, and its director, after they scrapped the competition for a new chief of the state TV, claiming the decision was illegal and politically motivated.

Milacic, who was one of the candidates for the post, told BIRN that the only reason for the decision was that the candidate supported by the ruling party had no appropriate qualification for the job, so the management wanted to change the competition terms.

"It is an illegal decision, which aims to push an eligible candidate and extend political influence; it's the personal stubbornness of the director, Rade Vojvodic, and nepotism," he said.

Following a decision by Vojvodic, the management of RTCG last week annulled the call for the appointment of a new TV chief, citing procedural errors.

Media reports claimed that the real reason for the move was that one of the candidates tipped by the management and the ruling Democratic Party of Socialist, DPS, had no university diploma.

Apart from Milacic, six other candidates applied for the job, including the Serbian journalist and editor Sonja Drobac.

Drobac is currently chief of the Montenegrin branch of the regional Prva TV and is considered close to the DPS, led by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

Milacic said the ruling party wanted Drobac for the post although both she and the public broadcaster denied such claims.

The controversy surrounding the appointment of the new public TV chief started after the October 16 elections, as the television had been controlled for six months by an interim administration as part of a pre-election deal reached between the opposition and Djukanovic.

Milacic said that after winning the election, the ruling party was on its way to regaining influence over of the most important media messengers for the DPS.

"This is a fight for TV, for all of us, and for professional, ethical and modern program standards which will end the era of abuse and illegal business operations," Milacic said.

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