October 22, 2012

Bečići, President Vujanović at SEEMF
The President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović participated today in the South East
Europe Media Forum in Bečići.

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

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

The freedom of opinion and expression, reception and provision of information and ideas, with no interference of public authorities, represents a fundamental human right. For the transition countries of South East Europe, that have serious democratic, development and integration aspirations realization of each fundamental human right, is a priority obligation by itself. Therefore, the central mission of our media systems is to serve the needs and interests of citizens and overall public.

Media have important role in our societies and due to their influence to the public, media are particularly important and equally responsible for democratic processes in them.
Our media systems need to promote democratic development, and through the transitional period each of our states has had an obligation to improve legal framework in this field and create rules and practice of its functioning. In that process a main goal, to all of us, needs to be protection of freedom and rights of citizens, and particularly of freedom of expression, guaranteed at the level of the highest international standards of human rights.

Therefore, respect for the freedom of media, and prevention of the misuse of media is obligation of paramount importance not only for the state but for the society as a whole. For that very reason, besides freedom of media we have to promote media self-regulation as a democratic mechanism which establishes and maintains a necessary balance of the established freedom of media on one hand, and ensures professional and ethical reporting as a guarantee of prevention of misuse of media on the other hand.

A complete guarantee of free public word is one of the prerequisite of fulfillment of the concept of open society, and that task has a deep significance and permanent value. The clearer attitude of the media, legislative, executive and judicial authority and citizens in all of our states may only intensify this process. We have to create the conditions in order to make our media to become instrument of democratic control of authorities. To be equally available to all the subjects and to be the witness of all social events. Their numerosity and democratism, along with their full freedom protected by law in all states of South East Europe, has to be fundamental value.

I am convinced that in the gatherings such as Media forum of the states of South East Europe we can make contribution to further development of freedom of media in our states, and therefore democracy in our societies. Also, I am convinced that the awards you present for investigative journalism will be impetus for the media and journalists to point out to the problems in our countries and to publicly encourage the solutions for their overcoming.

In the end, I express a hope that this gathering will contribute to the development of freedom of expression and will be impetus for those who think that all complex issues in this field can be resolved through dialogue and cooperation, with full respect for differences in opinions and interests.

To this end, I am certain that the messages from this gathering will become also concrete initiatives in a very short period for agreements and successful cooperation of the media of the states of South East Europe.

I wish you a successful work with sincere congratulations to the journalists who gained awards for investigative journalism.

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