President of the Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) Milo Đukanović has continued an open policy of intimidating critics, accusing independent media of promoting fascist ideas and NGO of vying for power.
This is the opinion of the non-government sector, media and opposition parties, citing that Đukanović is bringing back to the political scene an atmosphere of fear in which his critics can become targets.
“Considering this is the most powerful man in the country, who manages a certain power, but also influences the opinion of his supporters, we believe this discourse is also an invitation to others to undertake certain actions against critically oriented NGOs and media,” said President of the Alternatives Institute Stevo Muk, pointing out relevant institutions need to manage this, from the police and attorney’s office to the Human Rights and Freedoms Ombudsman.
Speaking at the “Veritable Truth” show, DPS presidential candidate stated that Vijesti promote fascist ideas, citing “his son is being discriminated with messages that he cannot do business in Montenegro.”
He stated the core opposition are not opposition parties, but the Vijesti media concern, working together with part of the NGO sector “to use a part of Montenegro opposition parties as their exponents.” Emphasizing that “fascism is not to be compromised with,” he noted many people in Montenegro public life do so and they “agreed to rules of terror dictated from these centers.”
“Part of the media and NGOs, in disguise, as these are people with no scruples in the fight for power, they only pretend to be media and NGO members in order to secure foreign donations, feeling everything is allowed, including the servitude of the state. I have no issue in stating this. This is why I have been labelled as someone who endangers the freedom of these media,” said Đukanović.
Muk called on the European Union to condemn hate speech toward critics of politics and authority activities, and on the OBSE/ODIHR to present and condemn in its report on presidential elections the atmosphere created with such statements from a presidential candidate. The EU delegation to Montenegro, OEBS office, US embassy and government did not respond to comments of the Đukanović statement.
Director of the Civic Education Center Daliborka Uljarević noted the civic sector does not vie for power through the opposition, but its role is to contribute to freedom and transparency of Montenegro institutions.
“But Đukanović does not understand the concept of a non-government sector, as he still belongs mentally to another system in which NGOs did not exist as an autonomous part of society and in which one party was the alpha and omega of everything. Now he is demonstrating signs of paranoia as he sees in any differing political opinion those fighting for power, and we all have the right to politically ponder although we are not party members. For him and for many of his close and increasingly radical associates, social activity comes down to fighting for power, not contributing to creating a society with rule of law and equal opportunity for all. They are describing us by looking in the mirror,” said Uljarević.
Executive director of the Center for NGO Development Ana Novaković said Đukanović’s statements are dangerous and inadmissible for someone aiming to be president of a antion.
“But, since it is Đukanović, they are not a surprise. In the atmosphere built for decades Đukanović finds it hard to function. It is possible his nervousness is increased as these organizations, under the burden of such statements, obstructions from controlled institutions and media campaigns still actively function and contribute to the democratization of Montenegro,” said Novaković.
Assembly president of the Media Center Duško Vuković called on Đukanović to use facts to support his claims of fascist behaviour of media and NGOs and begin proceedings with courts against them, as without that his supporters may take this as an invitation to prosecute those with different opinions and attack them. President of the Center for Investigative Journalism Milka Tadić Mijović said the story of fascists can hardly put a veil on the fact “that Đukanović is the main problem of this land.”
Comments by Đukanović were also condemned by Democratic Montenegro, Socialdemocratic Party, Civi Movement URA and Demos, citing the DPS President is creating an atmosphere of prosecution.
Executive director of the South-eastern Europe Media Association Vuk Maraš feels the DPS leader’s statement is an invitation to lynch employees of Vijesti.
“A person looking to be president of a nation, a nation aspiring to be an EU member and already a NATO member, should not in any case allow themselves to qualify free and professional media as “fascists,” just because they don’t approve of the editorial politics and the fact they uncover corruption cases daily in which the main roles are played by persons from his circle. With such a qualification of Vijesti, Đukanović has again drawn a target on the forehead of journalists, editors and all employees of the publication and in fact called upon a lynching,” cited Maraš.
He added that such rhetoric from Đukanović in the past has been trailed by 25 assaults on Vijesti employees and the property of this publication. All media, members of the Association from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia, have published the Association stance on the assault of Đukanović on Vijesti.
Executive director of the NGO Sector Affirmation Network Vanja Ćalović Marković stated charges of fascism are a poor attempt at covering up corruption and conflict of interest at the highest level. She added that her organization is not by accident a target of Đukanović’s rhetoric as they uncovered the mechanism which enabled his son Blaž to “extort citizens forced to pay for his wealth through their electricity bills.”
“This is why the case of Blaž Đukanović is not an issue of entrepreneurship, but open leeching off the citizens of Montenegro. The business of constructing small hydroelectric power plants guarantees a profit for young Đukanović only because the government headed by his father proposed, and the parliamentary majority adopted a law which guarantees everything he produces will be sold at a price higher than the market prices,” she stated.
Prime Minister Duško Marković stated during the final convention of the DPS presidential candidate that no one will block Montenegro on its way to the European Union. Commenting on the letter of four NGOs to European officials, demanding the balance clause activation over lack of reforms, Marković stated their activities are primitive.
“Can there be a more primitive or spiteful relation to Montenegro, no. They will not block us, no one should even think about it. Let them fret tonight as Montenegro will become an EU member during the mandate of Milo Đukanović, as future president,” stated Marković.
Translated from Vijesti Online, for the original click here.