Commissioner Hahn responded 4 months later
Answer given by Mr Hahn on behalf of the Commission
The European Commission addresses freedom of expression and media issues within the framework of EU accession negotiations with Montenegro, in particular under chapters 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights) and 10 (Information society and media).
As a negotiating country, Montenegro needs to ensure freedom of expression and the media and to apply a zero-tolerance policy as regards threats and attacks against media, or any other types of unlawful and unjustified interferences with freedom of expression. Any such interference need to be thoroughly investigated and effective sanctions need to be applied.
The European Commission therefore pays utmost attention to the situation of media freedom and, more broadly, freedom of expression in Montenegro. Events such as the temporary disruption of mobile communications platforms on 16 October 2016 raise questions related to alignment with European standards and case law.
This event has been also raised in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) International Election Observation Mission's Final Report from 25 January 2017. The European Commission bases its assessment of the elections on the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission's work, which concluded that ‘elections were held in a competitive environment and fundamental freedoms were generally respected’.
The temporary disruption of the two mobile communication platforms has also been mentioned in the Montenegro 2016 Report(1). The European Commission stressed that the temporary disruption of electronic communications should be swiftly and transparently investigated.