Index 2024
40/ 180
Score : 73.21
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
39/ 180
Score : 74.28
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Montenegro's constitution and laws guarantee freedom of speech and expression, but press freedom continues to be threatened by political interference, unpunished attacks on journalists and economic pressure.

Media landscape

Despite its small population (620,000 inhabitants), Montenegro has more than 150 registered media outlets, including three daily newspapers, four TV broadcasters with national frequencies – including the public channel RTCG – and one news agency. Three of the four television networks with national coverage are partially or completely foreign-owned, mainly by companies from neighbouring Serbia. 

Political context

After the defeat in 2020 of the DPS – the former Communist Party, in power for 30 years and hostile to press freedom – governmental pressure and attacks on journalists somewhat diminished. The new government promised to harmonise national legislation with European law in 2024. However, there are concerns that the foreign owners of some outlets will influence editorial policies to serve the interests of other governments (such as the Serbian government) or those of their local political favourites. 

Legal framework

In Montenegro, freedom of expression is guaranteed and defamation is decriminalised. Despite having undergone several changes in recent years, gaps remain in the legal framework in terms of free access to public information and protection of the confidentiality of sources. The result is the insufficient protection of the media’s independence in the face of  political and economic pressure. The same is true for the RTCG, despite the adoption of new legal provisions in 2020. 

Economic context

As the main advertiser, the state has, in recent decades, distributed most of its funds to the “loyal” media. While RTCG and local public broadcasters are predominantly funded by the state, the private media are largely subject to the influence of advertisers and market volatility. Following the disastrous economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on the media, the government has provided them with financial support that has proven to be insufficient to ensure their sustainability. 

Sociocultural context

Montenegrin society has deep ethnic, religious and political divisions, in addition to the authoritarian political culture inherited from the past. In such an environment, the media are often accused of working for foreign interests and of betraying the nation or the church. Campaigns against professional journalists are often led by politicians from both the ruling and the opposition parties.


Almost all of the attacks against journalists in recent years have been resolved, but many of those that took place further back remain unpunished, despite promises of the government that came to power in 2020. This is the case, for example, in the murder of newspaper editor Dusko Jovanovic in 2004 and the attempted murder of investigative journalist Olivera Lakić in 2018. In 2023, after seven years of proceedings, journalist Jovo Martinovic was finally acquitted on unfounded charges of belonging to a criminal group.