Media rushed to publish the news on countermeeting

The peaceful civil protests have been organized since February in Montenegro, initially as a reaction to the scandal caused by the activities of a businessman Dusko Knezevic, who is wanted by Montenegrin police for tax evasion and money laundering. Knezevic has accused the highest Montenegrin officials, through the series of posts on social networks and media hosting, of complicity. Walking and performing through the capital, protestors have expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling party and political situation in the country, demanding its resignation

In the end of February on portals and the news on the organization of the countermeeting was published under the title “Crna Gora iznad svega” (“Montenegro above everything”), as a sort of the ruling structures’ reply to the current affairs in the country.

Those writings were encouraged by the post on the Facebook page “100p Ponovnoj Izdaji Crne Gore“, which announced this event in the following manner: “The great anti-fascist and patriotic protest entitled ‘Crna Gora iznad svega’ will be held at the Independence Square in Podgorica on Sunday 24th 2019, starting at noon“.

Deleted Facebook page

The mentioned page, through which citizens were summoned to this meeting, was created only a few weeks prior to this post, while now is non-existent since it has been deleted.

FOS Media has reacted to the writings of these portals and verified the alleged information with the authorized body, i.e. Police Administration of Podgorica.

According to them, countermeeting was not registered to the Centre of Security Podgorica, as confirmed by Tamara Popovic, spokesperson of the Police Administration, who said: “No gathering that is to be held on 24th March 2019 has been registered to the Center for Security Podgorica up to this moment”.

It is worth mentioning that, according to the Public Assembly Act, the legal framework for informing the administration body authorized for police affairs on the organization of the gathering shall be no later than five days before the event.

Despite the fact that countermeeting wasn’t registered, a great number of media has written on this matter, in various manners and connotations.

Since the alleged countermeeting was scheduled for 24th March – the 20th anniversary of the NATO intervention in FR Yugoslavia – numerous media have interpreted this news as a provocation of the ruling party

Some of them kept writing how the countermeeting represents a sort of a support which the President Milo Djukanovic enjoys among the citizens and how that is, at the same time, a  response to the civil protests “Odupri se – 97 000”, whose organizers are alleged advocates of the “Great Serbia”, while others associated the name of this meeting “Montenegro above everything” with Hitler’s Nazi slogan „Deutschland über alles“, meaning „Germany above everything“.

Thus, the news on countermeeting has been presented in Montenegrin and Serbian media until the Day D, i.e. 24th March has come. Despite the fact that there was no countermeeting, none of these abovementioned media has corrected themselves for conveying unverified information.

All summed up, it shows us how the media, seduced by sensational information amidst civil protests in Montenegro, “hurried” to publish a story leaning on the Facebook post, which anyone could have posted and linked with the current issue of the NATO intervention. Remains the fact that no one, apart from the portal contacted the authorities to verify whether this event had been scheduled or not.