The road to that unique Code was very difficult
The basic postulate in the work of every journalist should be respect for the Code of Ethics, said journalist and publicist Danilo Burzan, adding that all those who believe that they are damaged in public information should address it in an appropriate institutional way.
Burzan, as a long-term journalist, points out that the path to that unique Code for all journalists in Montenegro was very difficult.
“This is the current second version. We made the first one somewhere at the beginning of this century. And then it was also difficult to gather all the media, because, as it is known, the media scene in the country is quite confronted and conflicted, “said Burzan.
However, as he said, with the great help of media representatives from the European Union, an extremely good document was reached.
“Even now, the Montenegrin Code is considered one of the best by European standards,” said Burzan.
According to him, the Code is not respected to the extent that it imposes an obligation on media representatives.
“It can be said that we have a very good Code, but that we do not have its adequate application and full respect,” said Burzan.
He stated that it is not easy for journalists today to cope, especially if they do not find support in the newsroom where they work.
“Many are burdened by the fact that they have to respect certain circumstances that affect their commitment, but I think that in general, the largest number of journalists strive to comply with the Media Code,” said Burzan.
He said that if journalists adhere to the Code and respect it, they should certainly not run into problems, “at least when they find themselves in front of a mirror.”
“I cannot claim that this is possible today, because it largely depends on the editorial policies. Media are quite diverse and often confrontational and controversial, which again does not mean that it is not always a matter of non-compliance with the Code, because everyone has the right to an appropriate editorial policy, “said Burzan.
According to him, what no one has the right to do is to subject the provisions of the Code or to interpretations in a way that grossly insults the profession itself.
Burzan believes that in order for a journalist to be able to consistently adhere to the Code, there must be appropriate circumstances.
“He cannot be a true professional if his financial situation and status are uncertain, if he does not know whether he is able to feed himself, whether what he is doing will see the light of day or will be censored, rejected,” said Burzan.
Commenting on the lawsuits filed against journalists, Burzan points out that he is in favor of all those who believe that they are damaged in public information to solve it in an appropriate institutional way.
“Much better and more advisable than going to some other forms of calculation that can sometimes be physical, which we have also witnessed in some earlier times, but also today through open threats on social networks or expressing other types of dissatisfaction with the writings of individual journalists” , said Burzan.
Asked to comment on the fact that 150 lawsuits have been filed in Montenegro in the last ten years, Burzan states that this is not a large number considering “how and what can be found in the media.”
“I think that number speaks to the fact that the dissatisfaction of both the people in the media and those who follow them, listen and watch is divided, and that is why there are so many lawsuits,” said Burzan.
He said that he would like “for at least 150 years of journalism in Montenegro,” someone would at least take the first step towards trying to unite the media scene in the country. ”
“Or if not uniting the deputies of the public word and creating a single association based on respect for the Code, then at least try to jointly elect one self-regulatory body for all media,” said Burzan.
He believes that if there is already a common Code, then it would be desirable to have a common unified interpretation of the bodies that would be composed and elected by the representatives of all media in Montenegro.
“I think it would be a step forward, although I’m not sure it’s certain or possible in the coming days,” Burzan concluded.
The video was created within the project “More facts less insults”, which is implemented by the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro. One of the partners in this project is the MINA agency. This project was funded through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of State.