CLOSE

Update on Jovo Martinović’s Case: Montenegro Court Rejects Appeal

Update on Jovo Martinović’s Case: Montenegro Court Rejects Appeal

On 29 March 2021, the Court of Appeal in Podgorica rejected Jovo Martinović’s appeal and upheld the decision of the High Court of Podgorica sentencing him to 12 months in prison for drug trafficking. The Court of Appeal decision of March 2021 is final.

Since 2010, Mr Martinović’s journalistic work in Montenegro has included working undercover, bringing him into contact with individuals involved in drug smuggling. In 2015, Mr Martinović was arrested while working on a story about arms trafficking in the Balkans. He was later charged with illicit production, possession and trafficking of narcotics and establishing a criminal organisation. He spent approximately 15 months in pre-trial detention. Following a trial in 2019, Mr Martinović was convicted on all charges and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment. The conviction was appealed and in 2019 the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial at the High Court. Following the retrial, in 2020, Mr Martinović was again convicted and was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for drug trafficking. He was acquitted of the charge of establishing a criminal organisation.

Mr Martinović’s conviction and sentence has attracted international attention, primarily because he was convicted of a criminal offence notwithstanding he was engaged in investigative journalism at the time. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media noted that: “[i]nvestigating a criminal organization does not imply membership with that organization. To view is as such is highly problematic for investigative journalism as a whole, and can create a chilling effect for other reporters investigating other such matters of public interest in the country”.

While Mr Martinović has already served the sentence due to his pre-trial detention, he will hold a criminal record. Media Defence has supported Mr Martinović’s case since 2016. We are concerned this decision will stop investigative journalists in Montenegro and in the wider region from carrying out one of their primary functions, investigating wrongdoing and uncovering corruption. Investigative journalism can be at times a dangerous job, but it is done in the public interest. When carrying out that job journalists deserve appropriate protections, not criminal sanctions.

 

If you are a journalist or citizen journalist in need of support, please click here.

f you would like to support our work, please click here.

Recent News

We’re Hiring: Grants Officer

Grants Officer     London, Greater London (On-site) £34,000 – £40,000 per year Full-time Permanent About Media Defence Media Defence is a charity that helps journalists defend their rights. We support independent media, journalists and bloggers who are under legal threat by making sure that lawyers are available to defend them. We engage in strategic […]

Read

Call for Consultants: Update of Training Materials on Freedom of Expression in South and Southeast Asia

Purpose of the consultancy contract This is a call for consultants to review and update eleven existing training modules on freedom of expression in South and Southeast Asia. Background Media Defence’s vision is a world where journalists no longer face legal challenges that threaten their ability to report freely and independently on issues of public […]

Read

Media Defence et l’Impact Lab pour l’Etat de droit de Stanford Law School saisissent la Cour de justice de la CEDEAO contre les coupures d’internet ordonnées par l’Etat sénégalais

Le recours au nom d’AfricTivistes et de deux journalistes sénégalais vise à obtenir des mesures provisoires pour empêcher de nouvelles coupures d’Internet   READ IN ENGLISH   Dakar, le 13 février 2024 – Media Defence et le Rule of Law Impact Lab de la Stanford Law School ont déposé un recours devant la Cour de justice […]

Read