New York, April 13, 2018: Media Development Investment Fund is alarmed and appalled at remarks by Milo Djukanovic, President of the Democratic Party of Socialists, labelling independent media and certain non-governmental organizations as “fascists”.
We call on him to retract his comments immediately and to apologize publicly for making such unfounded and provocative remarks.
Mr Djukanovic made his comments in response to reports by Vijesti daily and the MANS NGO that his son has made huge profits from generous government contracts.
Not only is Mr Djukanovic’s claim utterly false, it is irresponsible and highly inflammatory in the run-up to Sunday’s election. We are concerned that Mr Djukanovic’s comments are contributing to a climate of fear, and that they may be seen as legitimizing physical attacks on journalists, NGOs and others seeking openness and transparency in Montenegrin government, business and society. If such attacks do occur, responsibility will lie with him.
Vijesti has always conducted its business in accordance with the law, yet it has been repeatedly subjected to vilification by Mr Djukanovic, who has previously called for the “extermination” of his opponents and critics.
During Mr Djukanovic’s 25 years at the heart of the country’s political life, Vijesti and its staff have suffered more than 25 physical attacks, a bombing, numerous verbal attacks and repeated financial harassment. Throughout this period, the perpetrators have enjoyed almost blanket impunity, with not a single person being held responsible for ordering an attack.
We ask Mr Djukanovic to retract his comments and, instead of demonizing independent media and NGOs, to recognize and support the vital role they play in democratic life.
MDIF is a New York-based not-for-profit investment fund, providing debt and equity financing to independent media businesses in countries where access to free and independent information is under threat. It has invested in Daily Press for almost 20 years and in TV Vijesti since its founding. MDIF holds equity stakes in both companies.
For further information, contact: Peter Whitehead, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 7793050670.