The Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro expresses its concerns over reports that an explosive device was detonated in front of the family home in Berane of Montenegrin journalist Tufik Softić last Sunday night.
The incident was not a first attack against this particular journalist, back in 2007 he was brutally beaten in front of his house by unknown perpetrators. The Delegation calls upon the authorities to swiftly investigate and prosecute perpetrators of the 2007 attack, and the most recent incident on Sunday night against Tufik Softić.
We take this opportunity to recall that freedom of media is a fundamental right recognized by international law and a key pillar for a democracy. As concluded at 20 June 2013 SpeakUp2 conference in Brussels, hosted by the EC Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle, freedom of expression (including media) is a key indicator of a country's readiness to become part of the European Union. It's part of the countries commitment to democracy, good governance and political accountability. Freedom of media is an integral part of EU accession negotiations, specifically within the human rights chapter 23.
The European Union will accept no deviation on the part of countries aspiring to join from European Union standards on freedom of expression and media. This latest incident and other previous cases of violence against media and journalist need be thoroughly investigated and perpetrators processed in accordance with the law.
The Delegation will continue to monitor the respect of all human rights, including those of media and journalists during the course of the EU accession negotiations.