Another Friday has come, together with the new edition of our weekly column On Friday Afternoon. As usual, we will start this week’s overview with the topics related to Montenegro.

This week, a new issue of our DFC magazine was published. It presents conspiracy theories around vaccines that the media from the region were spreading, which are striving to compromise the credibility and trust of citizens both in the work of health institutions and the immunization process. In the column Interview on the occasion, our collocutor was Dr. Vuk Vukovic, Assistant Professor at Department of Production, Faculty of Dramatic Arts at the UCG. Dr. Vukovic discussed the topic of social media and emphasized that only constant education can lead to a revolutionary shift. Likewise, the 28th Magazine issue covers alternative social media such as Parler and Gab, which have become a safe haven for extremists and supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Download the PDF issue by clicking on the link or the photo below.

Fake or anonymous social media accounts that are spreading inappropriate content have been a very common phenomenon in Montenegro for the last couple of years. Our colleague Milan Jovanovic said for RTCG that the internet contributed to the democratization of information but also caused less pleasant phenomena such as online harassment, lately the most present on fake or anonymous social media accounts.  Click here to read the integral report on possible dangers caused by inauthentic coordinated behavior on the internet.

This week, Niksic was the center of attention in our country. On Monday, Montenegrin police arrested Stevan Simijanovic for possessing a fake diplomatic passport. Simijanovic introduced himself as an American diplomat at the OSCE mission in Vienna, and the media published that he also possessed Montenegrin ID, as well as a Serbian and US driving license. Also, Pobjeda wrote that Simijanovic met with the CM URA representatives, which was confirmed by this political organization. Simijanovic was also a member of the International Police Organization and after being arrested, he was excluded from that NGO. Equally, it is interesting that one of the companions of the fake diplomat Stevan Simijanovic in hotel Ambassador in Podgorica from December 24 to February 9 was Marija Havrilov, a prominent member of the Serbian extremist nationalist movement Zavetnici. Simijanovic has a connection with the Serbian Orthodox Church. According to his LinkedIn profile (before its deletion), Simijanovic was a Sub-Deacon in that religious organization.

Also, Niksic was the center of attention due to the inappropriate graffiti that appeared on the Haji Ismail Mosque in this town. Hate messages directed towards members of the Islamic faith were written on the walls of the Mosque. Even though this kind of behavior was rebuked by all political actors in the country, it is clear that these events will only raise tensions before the local election in Niksic.

This week, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights published a piece of research on media and media freedoms, showing that one in two citizens in Montenegro does not trust media. According to the research, television is still the most dominant media, and Facebook is the most visited social media. Also, the research shows that the citizens have high expectations from the new Government when it comes to the protection of journalists and media freedoms. The author of the research and leading CEDEM methodologist Milos Besic emphasized that the TV is still the most dominant media and that over 70% of the citizens watch it on a daily basis.

Have a nice weekend!

Always question!

DFC team