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JUFREX: reform in the Montenegrin media sector


Recommendations for further reform in the Montenegrin media sector were presented within the project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe. As part of the Reinforcing Judicial Expertise on Freedom of Expression and the Media in South-East Europe (JUFREX), a group of independent experts was in Montenegro to conduct a detailed analysis of the media sector. It resulted that Montenegro should implement 67 recommendations, which should help the country formulate a national media policy. Some of the topics analyzed include state aid rules, copyright issues, media self-regulation, and freedom of speech in the digital age. Plamena Halacheva, Acting EU Ambassador to Montenegro and Head of the Political Section at the EU Delegation, stated that this is yet another opportunity to emphasize that media freedom is an unquestionable condition for any candidate country on its path to EU membership and an important indicator of functioning rule of law. Indeed, freedom of expression and freedom of the media are the basic elements of key chapter 23, one of the final negotiating chapters. Director General for EU Accession in the Ministry of European Affairs, Jelena Burzan, affirmed that Montenegro, with its work and results in the negotiation process, showed that it is serious in its intention to continuously improve the legislative and institutional framework in this area and to encourage further development in all spheres of society. 

Russia: BuzzFeed at the center of the storm


Russia’s Foreign Ministry has accused BuzzFeed of being a “tool of American intelligence services” after the news organization published an article about suspicious financial transactions involving Russian diplomats.
The media outlet reported this week that U.S. officials had flagged hundreds of suspicious Russian Embassy bank transfers over the past decade. Last November, Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused BuzzFeed of falsely claiming that Russian diplomatic transfers were part of an alleged campaign of interference in the U.S. presidential election. The ministry said that Buzzfeed had accessed and leaked the private banking information of embassy employees to the public, in a strongly worded statement published on its website Thursday. “This is no longer simply a matter of ‘fake news’, but a real crime”, it said in the statement. The ministry called on Washington to bring the alleged leakers to justice, “including those who occupy corresponding positions in the American state apparatus”.

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