OCCRP Reacts To Government Media

Recently, a Montenegrin government daily started a series of stories about the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and its reporters and editors. The article to date was inaccurate, negative, lacking any documentation and involved an interview with a person making unsubstantiated charges.

OCCRP’s policy is not to respond in detail to these types of smear stories. We believe they are designed to distract attention from the serious allegations raised by our series on First Bank and the Djukanovic government’s favorable treatment of the former prime minister’s family business. We believe the readers are smart enough to recognize this.

OCCRP welcomes a healthy public debate about the issues that we and others have raised. No one has refuted the specifics of our story except for broad refutations with no details. We believe the people deserve a complete and accurate accounting of how their public resources are used. We have opened the debate with stories and documents that prove our allegations. We do not quote human sources to prove our points but rather the government’s own documents. We have provided documents online for readers to make up their own minds. They can be found /en/first-bank-first-family/documents.

We also believe the use of the state-owned Pobjeda to slander people who disagree with the government is a grave misuse of public resources.

OCCRP is a consortium of investigative centers, commercial media and journalists from more than 15 countries. It includes Novaya Gazeta in Moscow and the Kyiv Post in Kyiv as well as non-profit centers in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Hungary, Georgia, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Macedonia and soon others. It is the most decorated organization in the region having won more international prizes for excellence in investigative reporting than any other including the 2011 Daniel Pearl Award, the Online Journalism Award, the Global Shining Light award, the Tom Renner award for crime reporting (with ICIJ) among many others.

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