Media self-regulation in Montenegro relies on the Code of Journalists of Montenegro, which all media accept. However, the Code is outdated and does not guide the media on how to deal with challenges in the digital environment, such as content moderation and social media management, combating disinformation, verifying the truth in advertising content, and many other issues.

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Although aware of the political environment that affects the media community, and the growing distance within the community itself, some of the interlocutors in this research express optimism that Montenegro could consider new models for creating stronger self-regulation.

With the support of the international community and media organizations, some of the interlocutors are of the opinion that, regardless of all the limiting factors, a discussion should be initiated on the possible formation of a single professional self-regulatory body.

The lack of strong self-regulation is increasingly pronounced, as the development of technology has changed the way of communication, and Montenegro has faced continuous political and social crises characterized by prominent polarization. In such circumstances, self-regulatory bodies are additionally expected to contribute to greater respect for ethical standards and to help combat the spread of misinformation.

The existing self-regulatory bodies, in accordance with their limited capacities, try to contribute to the promotion and adherence to the Code of Journalists. However, that is not enough. The media scene needs stronger self-regulation that has the authority to point out omissions and give guidelines on how to improve the quality of reporting.

The state allocates funds for the operational costs of self-regulatory mechanisms and announces that, by amending the media laws, it will oblige the media to develop self-regulatory mechanisms if they want to apply for money from the Fund.

Montenegrin regulations in the field of media are yet to be reconciled with European legislation. In our country, a serious discussion has not yet begun on the new European regulation in the field of media and digital services.

This research was carried out by the Montenegro Media Institute as part of the project “Our Media: Initiative to Improve Media Literacy, Dialogue, and Activism”. The project is carried out in cooperation with partners – Network for the Professionalisation of Media of Southeast Europe (SEENPM) and its members Media Centar Sarajevo, Albanian Media Institute, Macedonian Media Institute, Novi Sad Journalism School, Peace Institute, and Bianet, and with the out-of-network partner Kosovo Press Council, with the financial support of the European Commission.

The methodology for this research was developed by the Peace Institute from Ljubljana, and apart from Montenegro, the research is being carried out in five other countries of the Western Balkans and in Turkey.

Our goal is to strengthen and support media and self-regulation mechanisms in Montenegro with this analysis to improve ethical standards and contribute to the fight against growing challenges in the digital environment, to increase the awareness of regulators, media, civil society, and citizens about the benefits of the new EU regulation on media and digital services.