Podgorica, PR press service – Every second citizen of Montenegro does not trust the media; television is still the most dominant media; the most visited social network is Facebook; citizens have high expectations of the new government when it comes to protecting journalists and media freedom.
This was announced at the press conference “Presentation of the Results of Research on Media and Media Freedoms”, organized by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) within the project “Strengthening the Capacity of Local Media to Report on Human and Minority Rights”, supported by the Embassy of United States in Podgorica. The full report is available here.
The Author of the Research and the Chief Methodologist of CEDEM, Miloš Bešić, said that almost half of the citizens of Montenegro do not trust the media.
“That level of distrust is higher or lower, but in general it is almost every second citizen of Montenegro,” said Bešić.
He pointed out that television is still the most dominant medium and that over 70% of citizens watch television every day.
“The second most frequent are social networks that are used by 45.3 percent of citizens every day. Social networks and internet portals are gaining in importance from year to year. Behind them are two traditional media. 21.3 percent listen to the radio every day, and only 8.4 percent of the citizens read the newspaper every day,” Bešić said.
Every fourth citizen of Montenegro (24.3) follows the portal Vijesti, and the second, third and fourth in terms of frequency of monitoring are CDM (16.2) and RTCG (15.2).
“Citizens have the most trust in the portal Vijesti (32.8) in which every third citizen has a higher or lower level of trust, followed by RTCG (21.5), and then CDM (18.3) “, stated Bešić.
Newspapers are read daily and regularly by a very small number of citizens, but most of them read Dan, which is read regularly or daily by 7.5 percent of citizens, followed by Vijesti with 6.2 percent and Pobjeda with 4.2 percent.
“When it comes to trust, trust is expressed in the same order, with the differences being proportionally small. 23 percent of citizens expressed confidence in Dan, 21 percent in Vijesti and 18 percent in Pobjeda,” Bešić said.
When it comes to televisions, the most watched are Vijesti, which in the category “very often” is watched by over 52 percent of citizens, followed by RTCG 1 with 40.5 percent, TV Prva with 30.6 percent, and Nova M with 23.6 percent.
When it comes to trust in information on TV stations, the first are, again, Vijesti with 59.2 percent of citizens, followed by RTCG1 (51.4), RTCG 2 (46.1), and PRVA (43.8) and NOVA M (38). So, the more often people watch a medium, the more they trust it or, people watch a medium because they trust it “, explained Bešić.
The most visited social network, he said, is Facebook, which is followed daily by 42.8 percent of citizens, followed by Youtube with 30.8 percent, and Instagram with 23.3 percent. He added that the highest level of trust is in Facebook, which is trusted by 35.9 percent of citizens, and that the trust in Youtube is 34.7 percent.
When asked if they had heard about the concept of fake news, 45 percent of respondents said that they did, 26.9 percent had heard about fake news but were not sure what it meant, and 28.3 percent of citizens did not know what fake news are.
Just over a quarter of citizens are more or less able to recognize fake news, and it is possible to manipulate about a quarter of citizens with fake news.
“When they recognize fake news, most citizens simply ignore it, but ignoring it does not stop the spread of fake news. A very small number of citizens share and inform that these are fake news or report to the administrators that they have realized that”, stated Bešić.
He pointed out that a third of citizens estimate that media freedoms are at a more or less satisfactory level, but on the other hand, 58.5 percent of citizens believe that media freedoms are mostly at a low or very low level.
“Half of the citizens would rate the position of journalists as more or less good, and the other half as more or less bad,” Bešić said.
He added that the number of citizens who believe that journalists are mostly protected or mostly unprotected is equal.
The survey showed that over 45% of citizens believe that the state should adopt special measures to further protect journalists, while one in three believes that there is no need for that.
When asked how efficient the state is in prosecuting and punishing those who threaten and attack journalists, about 47 percent of citizens negatively assess the efficiency of the state in this regard, while twice as few citizens believe that the state is more or less efficient in prosecuting and punishing those who endanger journalists “, stated Bešić.
When asked what is the reason for the state’s inefficiency in terms of protecting journalists, he said, 50 percent said they did not know the reason, 15.4 percent stated corruption and organized crime, 11.3 percent inefficiency and selectivity of the judicial system, and 10.7 percent the lack of political will.
The data, he said, shows that citizens have high expectations of the new government when it comes to protecting journalists and media freedom.
“They think that the new government will treat the media and journalists better. 30 percent of citizens say that it will be significantly more efficient, 17 percent that it will be equally efficient, and 15.5 percent that it will be less efficient,” Bešić said.
When it comes to investigative journalism, the most dominant view is that investigative journalism is generally good (39.5 percent), but also that a small number of journalists deals with it the right way.
Answering the question which political structure the media supports, the least number of citizens cannot assess, while most of them think that the media are divided on that issue.
“A similar percentage of citizens believe that the media work for the interests of the owners (39.6) and for the interests of politicians (39.7 percent). Every fifth citizen of Montenegro believes that the media mostly work for the interests of the citizens,” said Bešić.
The research showed that citizens generally believe that the media are not independent in relation to various actors.
“On a scale from 0 to 1, TV Vijesti is estimated as the most independent media with almost 0.33, followed by newspaper Vijesti 0.29, portal Vijesti 0.28, RTCG 0.28, Dan 0.26, CDM 0.25, Analitika 0.23, FOS 0.22”, said Bešić.
According to the citizens, he said that about 30 percent of citizens identified the government at the state level as the most responsible and as a key violator of media rights and freedoms, while about 15 percent of them believe that media owners are the key violators, and only one in ten attributes it to journalists.
“Over 40 percent of citizens believe that the public service has better business conditions than private ones, as opposed to 26 percent of citizens who say that private media have better business conditions. More than every second citizen believes that the degree of media freedom is more present in private than in public media,” Bečić said.
When asked who should contribute the most when it comes to the promotion of media freedoms, the research showed that comparatively, the greatest contribution is expected from journalists, the state, the media and media owners, and professional associations.
Director of CEDEM, Milena Bešić, appealed to the journalists to take into account the attitudes of the citizens, respect their trust and make additional efforts to professionalize their work.
“Adherence to the guidelines defined by the Code of the Journalist Profession requires journalists and editors to stand behind the words spoken publicly and to be aware that the informative role they have, must contribute to strengthening social cohesion and reducing the polarization of society,” Bešić said.
She assessed that there is a great need for investigative journalism and that it is up to the institutions to ensure the safety of journalists.
Program Manager, Marko Pejović, said that the research was conducted from December 10 to 21, 2020, and that 999 respondents participated in the research.