The last year was marked by numerous activities of the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro aimed at improving the position of employees in the media. We opened significant fields of activity, were indispensable partners in the adoption of regulations, strengthened the relationship with the membership, organized numerous trainings and conferences.
We have selected some of the most significant actions that marked the year 2022:
We started the year with changes to the Criminal Code, which provides for stricter penalties in cases of attacks on journalists and other media employees. Changes were awaited for a full ten years, as long as the Action for Human Rights and the Media Union advocated for such solutions. SMCG actively monitors all cases that are implemented according to the new provisions.
Since May, we have also been active in the field of collective bargaining for the new Branch collective agreement for media activity, since currently, employees in the media do not have such protection. The goal of that document is to recognize the importance of media workers in society by improving their socio-economic position since media employees often work in precarious conditions and with inadequate earnings.
On September 17, the Assembly of the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro elected Radomir Kračković as the new president of the largest trade union organization of media employees. He announced that the focus of his work will be on the adoption of the Branch collective agreement for the media sector, on full respect of all labor rights in the media, greater safety of journalists and media workers, as well as increasing the number of Union members.
This year, we launched the first union podcast in the region and beyond – Dvije sindikalne. Through the episodes that have been published so far, we opened important topics, presented challenges, and also the podcast was a forum for more than 50 colleagues who took part in the work so far.
For the sixth year in a row, we presented the research Indicators of level of media freedom and journalists’ safety, with which we analyzed the current media environment in Montenegro. This year, for the first time, we presented the Journalists’ Safety Index, which ranks countries in the region according to the degree of safety of media employees.
We also established cooperation with the Swedish Media Institute Fojo, with whom we organized the first study visit to Montenegro, in which about 30 media workers and representatives of media organizations from different parts of Europe participated. It was an opportunity to learn about the media landscape in Montenegro, but also for networking in order to work together to improve the position of employees in the media.
Young people got a special place in the Media Union, because on December 20, the Network of Youth and Freelancers was formed as part of the union. The network consists of young journalists, freelancers and students interested in journalism, and its goal is to work for a better position of young people in newsrooms and society.
The trade union has a permanent service of free legal aid for cases of endangering safety, but also in cases of protection of labor rights. The trade union has already, through lawyer Mirko Bošković, helped dozens of employees in the media. From 2023, a similar permanent service will be dedicated to psychological support for employees in the media, which will be assisted by psychologist Dragana Đokić.
For the fifth year, we mapped problems in digital media – New media – old problems. The media union identified the main problems and pointed to the poor position of employees in those media.
During 2022, the Trade Union of Media worked on the first comprehensive guidelines for risk assessment for media employees, which, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, will be published at the beginning of 2023.