democracy and human rights, held three working meetings within the project “Improving the practices of local media in the fight against corruption and organized crime”, which was financially supported by the US Embassy in Podgorica.
Believing that the cooperation of representatives of the justice system at the local level, on the one hand, and the media, civil society and active citizens, on the other hand, can lead to synergies of their potentials that would result in quality reporting on criminal justice and adequate public information. Bar, Kotor and Berane.
The purpose of the working meetings is to encourage dialogue between these actors, especially on the use of the Law on Free Access to Information in order to improve the quality and credibility of media coverage of criminal justice cases, while creating the image of judicial bodies as open and willing actors to cooperate with media and civil society organizations.
The working meetings were attended by the heads of the basic state prosecutor’s offices and PR of the basic courts from the mentioned cities, along with all media representatives operating at the local and national level from these cities.
The meetings took place in a very constructive exchange of views. Representatives of judicial institutions presented the existing practices and instruments of communication with the media, while the media talked about cooperation with these institutions. It was stated that the cooperation between the PR of the prosecution and the media is at a high level and that prosecutors are always available to the media, in order to better report to the media on criminal justice. On the other hand, contact was established between the PR of the basic courts and media representatives.
It was assessed that it is necessary to work on trust on both sides, which would result in improved cooperation, but also that cooperation was significantly improved by the adoption of new legislation in 2015. Having in mind the deadline for giving feedback by judicial institutions, which is three days, the media representatives proposed shortening that deadline, if it is a very current event that is under public scrutiny. A number of journalists stated that in the future, selectivity in avoiding information is avoided and that each media outlet receives identical information about a certain event, which would result in reduced speculation by journalists. Also, the representatives of the justice system emphasized the importance of knowing the terminology, but also the competencies of certain bodies, especially having in mind the events from which journalists inform from the scene.