Đukanović Rejected Four Requests for Interview

Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Đukanović's office says reporters who wrote about links between his personal wealth and official government acts were rude and did not give him a fair chance to respond to negative information. In fact, reporters tried for eight months to get his response.

Recent allegations against the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) were made in a press release by the public relations advisor for Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović.

With all due respect to the prime minister and to Aleksandar Eraković, charges that CIN was rude to or gave the prime minister insufficient chance to give his side of the story are completely untrue. It is CIN’s policy and philosophy that every story needs and is improved by a response from the subject its reporters are writing about.

CIN submitted four written requests for information to the prime minister’s office before publishing a story June 1 that links the personal and family wealth of the Đukanovićs with official acts of his government.

The first of those requests was dated Oct. 2, eight months before the final story came out. The last, an appeal made directly to Eraković, was May 27.

CIN reporters were told in October that while Đukanović was too busy for an interview then he would make time to talk by the end of 2008. When a reporter called in December, the prime minister’s office said there was no chance to fit in an interview that month but something in the spring was possible.

On Jan. 23, CIN against contacted Eraković in writing reminding him of the promised meeting and asking for it as soon as possible. There was no response.

Another CIN reporter wrote a third request for an interview on May 21 noting that publication was imminent and requesting a response within 24 hours.

Again there was no answer from the prime minister’s office. In a final attempt to give Prime Minister Đukanović a chance to see and respond to the assertions in the CIN article, a reporter called Eraković May 27 asking him about the procedure for and possibility of securing an interview with the prime minister. He said that he had not received CIN’s May 21 request. So, CIN submitted a new written request.

Eraković then responded that he found CIN’s previous request rude and that the prime minister had no interest in speaking with reporters.