Montenegrin journalists and civil rights activists have gathered in the capital, Podgorica, to protest against the proposed dismissal of the national public broadcaster's director and editorial team.
About 100 people gathered on June 7 in front of the RTCG's headquarters, where the managing council was expected to vote on the proposal that critics say is part of an effort by the government to undermine the public broadcaster's independent editorial policies.
The demonstrators, who also included opposition politicians, called for the resignation of the RTCG's managing council, holding banners demanding an "independent public service."
The organizers of the rally say RTCG has been under pressure after a new editorial team started work in March 2017 and distanced itself from the long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists.
Ahead of the protest, Montenegro's Media Center organization claimed that a dismissal of RTCG director Andrijana Kadija and some of the station's editors would allow President Milo Djukanovic's party to regain its control over the broadcaster.
The Montenegrin Journalists' Association said the RTCG staff was working under "tremendous political pressure" from the government, making it "difficult for reporters and editors to do their jobs professionally."
Montenegro, where Djukanovic was inaugurated last month as president for a second term, joined NATO in June 2017 and is seeking EU membership.
Critics have accused his party of a failure to curb organized crime and corruption and of hobbling democratic reforms in the small ex-Yugoslav republic.
The U.S. Embassy in Podgorica tweeted on June 1 that it was following developments with RTCG, saying that media freedom was "a key" to Montenegro's EU aspirations.
Last month, the European Union warned the country that its efforts to join the bloc will suffer a setback unless it does more to protect journalists and media freedom.
EU Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn issued the warning after a shooting attack on Montenegrin investigative journalist Olivera Lakic.
Lakic, who was already the target of a similar attack in 2012, was hospitalized with injuries after being shot in Podgorica on May 8 by an unidentified gunman.