The two-year project will be implemented by BIRN, the Center for Investigative Journalism Montenegro, CIN CG, and weekly news magazine Monitor, supported by the EU Delegation in Podgorica.
This project aims to strengthen investigative reporting capacities and public interest in topics related to environmental protection in Montenegro, while increasing the amount of quality media content related to relevant EU negotiation chapters (Chapter 27, as well as 23 and 24).
Its goal is to strengthen participatory democracy and the EU integration process in Montenegro by empowering and stimulating an enabling professional and financial environment for pluralistic media.
It also aims to foster independent and investigative journalism in order to generate quality media content, both for national and local media, in areas related to Montenegro’s European integration process.
“This project comes at the perfect moment for Montenegro, as citizens have finally started waking up and raising their voice against numerous environmental violations,” said Dusica Tomovic, managing editor of BIRN’s regional publication Balkan Insight and organisation’s representative in Montenegro.
Tomovic cited public protests against the cutting down of cypress trees in Bar, the building of an adventure park in a national park in Zabljak and of a mini hydropower plant in Savnik, as well as other environmental problems across the country.
“We believe that citizens were encouraged to act due to numerous previous investigative articles on environment devastation, developed through our previous EU grants, while each protest was widely supported by media,” Tomovic said.
“At the same time, Montenegro opened negotiations under Chapter 27 only half a year ago, in which input related to the environment will be of very high importance for the next EU country report on Montenegro, the future of Montenegro’s accession process, and the wellbeing of all citizens,” she added.
The project will help inform the public about the most important issues related to Montenegro’s further EU integration, but also allow people to get directly involved through a newly-designed web platform that will enable them to become active citizens and amateur journalists (citizen reporters) by reporting on local environmental issues.