„This is great and important news for Vijesti’s employees, for its viewers and readers, and all those who closely follow the events with media freedom in the region and Europe,“ UM said in a statement.
According to the letter of intent, UM, as a new shareholder, accepts to respect and protect the editorial independence and autonomy of Vijesti. The editor-in-chief will continue to be elected at the suggestion of local co-owners and the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a New York-based investment fund that supports media freedom and has been Vijesti’s minority shareholder since the beginning.
„All three platforms of the Vijesti system have been exposed to an existential threat both by monopolists and nationalists for almost a decade and a half because of its commitment to freedom of expression and professional journalism. We are entering into a partnership with UM convinced it will give additional strength to our media because it nourishes the liberal values and journalism that characterise the Vijesti system in a wider space loyal to those values,“ professor Miodrag Perovic, one of the founders of Vijesti, said.
MDIF CEO Harlan Mandel recognised the development as a strategic collaboration between the two media houses based on their brand values and rooted in the power of their objective reporting.
„At the moment, we see an epidemic of restrained media in Europe, in which private media are being taken over, while the media market in the Balkans continues to be extremely difficult to launch independent media and do business in the market. In this environment, the cooperation of the two most influential brands in the region, recognised for their independent journalism, is welcome because it ensures that quality investigative journalism continues to be the centre of Vijesti’s business model,“ Mandel said.
Aleksandra Subotic, United Media CEO, said that „we always believed that objective and independent journalism is one of the key factors for the development of society. In that context, we appreciate Vijesti’s work so far and the fact that they have resisted various pressures and managed to do their job professionally. We are looking forward to the future partnership, and we believe that it will ensure that this media system expands in future and that the quality content produced by Vijesti journalists reaches a wider audience.“
As the leading media company in Southeast Europe, United Media operates in eight countries with a portfolio of 55 television channels, including N1 and Nova TV, dailies Danas and Nova, and numerous radio stations.
MDIF is a non-profit investment fund supporting independent media in the region for 25 years. It has a minority stake in the media.
Vijesti is considered the only independent daily newspaper and the only independent television station in Montenegro, providing credible news to its audience since its beginning.