May 30, 2014

Budva, President of Montenegro Opens the 39th EPRA Meeting
The President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović opened tonight the 39th EPRA meeting in Budva.

The following is the text of the speech by the President:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Development of every field has a historical significance. Since Volujica, in 1904, and the development of the first radio-telegraphic station in this part of Europe until today, the history of Montenegro’s scientific and technological era has been written, always trying, even in this way, to develop its connections with the world. Today, 110 years later, Montenegro as a sovereign country is committed to European and Euro-Atlantic integration, firmly believing in all fundamental principles of democracy and freedom.

Considering the territory and the number of citizens, Montenegro is among the countries with the largest number of electronic media in Europe. Now more than ever, they are playing a key role in our society and, because of their influence on the public, they are of vital importance for the democratic processes in Montenegro. New media legislation has provided them with an independent status, guaranteed by the law, independent sources of funding, but also made them directly responsible to the public, i.e. citizens, as defined by the law. Consequently, they assumed great responsibility to harmonize the freedom of expression with the highest European standards. The state of Montenegro has been continuously supporting this difficult transition process, but it cannot and should not be the only guarantee of media freedom. Therefore, by accepting professional standards and establishing self-regulatory bodies, electronic media must support this process of democratization, guaranteeing the protection of citizens’ freedom and rights in this field at the level defined by international documents on human rights.

The necessity of changes has become clear, both to the state authorities, and the media and media professionals in Montenegro. It is also important that we have an increasing understanding and support of international organizations and institutions in this process.

Montenegro will always be open for all issues of comprehensive media transformation and harmonization of media system with European and international standards. Closing a country to the dialogue on these issues would, in my opinion, lead to its stagnation and regression.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome the commitment of our independent regulatory authority for audiovisual media services to continuously open the dialogue and cooperate with other countries in the region and beyond, with the support of international institutions. Let the 110th anniversary of our radio-telegraphy and this conference, which is attended by representatives of nearly 40 countries, be the new beginning of resolution of all issues, including those in this field, in a peaceful way, through cooperation and with full respect of all diversities.

With this in mind, I wish you a successful Conference. I hope that the exchange of experience, agreements and final positions of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities will deepen your cooperation. Montenegro will always be ready to support that kind of exchange of opinions and dialogue.

I wish you a successful work at the Conference.

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