Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG)

Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG) is the public service media company in Montenegro. It consists of Radio Montenegro (RCG) and Montenegro Television (TVCG). The broadcaster runs three television channels, and two radio channels.

Media assets

Television: TVCG 1, TVCG 2, TVCG SAT

Radio: RCG, Radio 98

State Media Matrix Typology: Independent State Funded and State Managed (ISFM)

Ownership and governance

RTCG is a state-owned corporation. The highest governing body at RTCG is a Council composed of nine members who are supposed to be experts nominated by NGOs and appointed by Parliament.

The RTCG Council appoints the Director General of the broadcaster. This appointment formula was created to ensure the independence of the station as it was believed that, by giving NGOs the power to recommend experts, the government would lose its leverage on the station’s governing body. Yet, in the past five years or so, local experts and journalists indicated that some of the NGOs that nominate members to the RTCG Council do the government’s bidding as they receive state funding to finance their own activities.

In June 2023, the RTCG Council re-elected Boris Raonic as the station’s director despite a ruling of the Higher Court in the country stating that Raonic was illegally appointed director in the first place due to a conflict of interest (he is also a member of Montenegro’s media regulator). The decision of the court, which ordered the RTCG Council to choose another candidate was completely ignored.

Source of funding and budget

RTCG is funded through a combination of state funding and revenues from advertising sales. In 2022, according to the station’s annual report, RTCG had a budget of €20.1m, more than 90% of that coming from the state budget. This is the largest budget of a media outlet in Montenegro.

Editorial independence

In spite of legal provisions that are aimed at ensuring its editorial independence, RTCG has come in recent years under numerous pressure, the government exerting its control over the station’s editorial coverage, mostly by influencing the RTCG Council. As soon as the political power changes, the newly elected government moves on to control the broadcaster. The European Commission also expressed concerns about the editorial independence of the RTCG in the past.Yet, under pressure from the European Union (EU) as part of Montenegro’s EU membership process, RTCG has improved its editorial independence in recent years. In the 2022 report on the country’s progress towards EU membership, the European Commission commended the Montenegrin public broadcaster for pursuing a balanced editorial policy and for its politically diverse content. Trusting the EU judgment, in 2023 we have “promoted” the RTCG into an independent category in the State Media Matrix taxonomy.

The Law on the National Public Broadcaster is the main legal instrument in place to protect RTCG’s independence. The law states that RTCG should develop its own programming without any sort of interference from outside. The law also requires RTCG journalists to work in the public interest. Nevertheless, these provisions are not respected in practice as in recent years the government has successfully influenced the editorial coverage at RTCG mainly through the members of the broadcaster’s Council.

RTCG has a mechanism that allows for public consultation about programming-related issues. The results of these consultations are published on the station’s website.

October 2023