Montenegrin journalist Andela Dikanovic has been arrested in Podgorica for publishing an article that the authorities claim caused “panic and disorder”.
Dikanovic is the editor-in-chief of local news website FOS and is being detained for 72 hours following criminal charges levied against her by the state prosecutor.
The allegations against her relate to an article that she published on FOS earlier in the day that the website later retracted, according to a Balkan Insight report cited by the Committee to Protect Journalist. The offending article apparently alleged that the Montenegrin government was planning to request security assistance from Kosovo, to help quell ongoing protests.
After the article was published, the government denied the allegations and FOS retracted the article and published an apology. Then today, FOS published a statement that Dikanovic had been dismissed as editor-in-chief for what they called a “serious professional error”.
Dikanovic’s lawyer told reporters that her detention and the charges against her were “shocking” and said that they were appealing the state prosecutors ruling.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has commented on the case, calling for the “immediate release” as well as the dropping of all charges.
CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia programme director Gulnoza Said said: “Journalists should not face prison sentences for their work, even if they make professional errors; Montenegro authorities should pursue civil remedies for such issues, not criminal ones”.
Montenegro ranks at 104 in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index due to lawsuits filed against journalists and harassment and threats from the country’s rulers.