August 20, 2009, Podgorica, Montenegro - Berlin criticized Montenegro over what it said were shortcomings in media freedom, the German embassy in Podgorica said Thursday.
The embassy warned that it had "increasing concern" about physical attacks on reporters critical of the authorities, echoing earlier objections by the United States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and international media organizations.
This follows a brutal attack on a reporter from Vijesti by Podgorica's mayor and his son, who were being investigated for their role in a corruption scheme that would have exposed officials in the highest rank of government.
Germany also urged Montenegro to clarify legal criteria for permits to broadcast and said it would "closely monitor" freedom of media, an "indicator of democratic maturity," in the context of Podgorica's bid to join the European Union.
One case that has raised concern among press freedom advocates is the government's refusal to grant a license to the private media house Vijesti, which is seeking to launch the first independent nationwide TV channel.