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PM Marković, EU Commissioner Hahn: Montenegro is leader in integration, further work on rule of law and media freedom is needed

PM Marković, EU Commissioner Hahn: Montenegro is leader in integration, further work on rule of law and media freedom is needed
Published date 11.05.2018 19:40 | Author PR Service

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Prime Minister Duško Marković and EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said that Montenegro is a leader in European integration, but that our country needs to take further steps, among other things, in the fight against organised crime and media freedom. The two officials, who were at the reception organised by Commander Hahn on the occasion of Europe Day in Tivat, mentioned a recent attack on journalist Olivera Lakić.

Commissioner Hahn reiterated that the Strategy for the Western Balkans, adopted by the European Commission several months ago, is a very important political signal of encouragement and clearly confirms that the door of the Union is open to the Western Balkans, but not a blank check. As he pointed out, strengthening the judiciary, stronger fight against corruption and organised crime, creating an environment that fully guarantees freedom of expression and the media, providing and facilitating the atmosphere and sincere cooperation with the civil sector are key challenges that have a direct impact on the lives of citizens, employment and business opportunities. In this context, he addressed the attack on investigative journalist Olivera Lakić, stressing that the security and freedom of the media is a wider indicator of the rule of law in democracy and therefore crucial for the European path of Montenegro.

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The Prime Minister was explicit - the leadership of the security services under the authority of the Government will be replaced until it finds the perpetrators and the instigators of the attack.

"I firmly condemn this cowardly act as an event that is by nature an attack on democracy and civil liberties, and an attack on independent media and democratic institutions. Independent media and professional journalists are the extended hand of every democratic system," the Prime Minister said.

He added the most severe condemnations that the Government sent immediately after learning about the attack, the statements of solidarity of the highest officials of the security services and the Prosecutor's Office were registered, which he certainly welcomes.

"However, solidarity is just one component of public and social responsibility, and the essential ones are the duty of effective investigation and the ability to fully illuminate this event. And it involves identification of perpetrators and instigators and their arrest. Therefore, I will not accept anything other than the results I expect - which is the arrest of the perpetrators of this criminal offense. I also want to say that the directors and the leadership of security services and authorities, which are under the authority of the Government, will be replaced until we find those who are capable of dealing with such and similar criminal cases. And for those senior officials and leaders who are not under Government's authority, I will publicly request re-examination of their responsibilities too, or capabilities in other branches of authority that are in charge of their mandate. So, I want to say again - the Government will not tolerate attacks on journalists. Their security, and the safety of citizens, will be a measure of our trust and support to those who are most responsible for the work and results of institutions. I think that in such a situation, when we celebrate the achievements of freedom and democracy, we should show our determination, as well as the ability to defend these values when they are threatened," the Prime Minister said.

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