Cooperation of institutions, media and NGO sector dubbed essential for fight against malign influence

Joint actions of the national institutions, media and the NGO sector are necessary for the successful fight against malign influence in Montenegro, analyst of the Digital Forensic Center (DFC) Marko Banovic has said.

In an interview with the MINA News Agency, he said that fight against malign foreign influence cannot be based exclusively on the work of the organizations such as DFC.

Banovic argues that Montenegro lacks cohesive cross-sectoral response in fight against malign influences.

“We need joint actions of the national institutions, media, NGO sector, for successful fight”, said Banovic.

According to him, strong democratic institutions are the key in fight against malign influence.

“Unfortunately, since the restoration of Montenegro’s independence, the Montenegrin administrations failed to contribute to building of such institutions, but they further collapsed them with a party-centric approach”, claims Banovic.

He says that Montenegro is faced with three problems in regard to malign foreign influences, the first one being the abuse of the topic, and hiding the internal problems behind the narratives of the foreign malign influence.

“There is also relativization of the malign foreign influence, and the narrative that it doesn’t exist in Montenegro, or that exists on a minimal level”, says Banovic, adding that such malevolent narratives could be heard from the Montenegrin top officials.

According to him, the third problem, that has become visible in the last six months, is equalization of the malign foreign influence with the cooperation with the partner and allied countries.

Banovic claims that Serbia and Russia are the two countries which exert malign influence that can be seen well in Montenegro in particular, adding that the reason for this lies in their aggressive approach, but also widely spread network of proxies.

Banovic adds that the population census was the most vivid example of the malign influence in all spheres, adding that the identical activities could have been seen during the previous presidential, parliamentary and local elections.