08 May 15
Montenegrin Journalists Condemn Fresh Attacks
After two new attacks on journalists’ property were reported, the Montenegrin journalists’ association has called on the goverment to end the ‘culture of impunity’ over crimes against the media.
Montenegrin police are searching for the unknown perpetrators of two attacks on the property of journalists in the north of the country.
Unknown persons vandalized the car of journalist Zorica Bulatovic when it was parked in front of her home in the town of Kolasin. After the attack, Bulatovic was placed under police protection.
A day earlier,an almost identical crime was reported to the police for assault on the property of the journalist Milovan Novovic from Bijelo Polje.
In recent months, both Bulatovic and Novovic have been verbally attacked by local politicians for articles they wrote about wrongdoing and courruption in local governments.
Journalists’ associations and NGOs dealing with human rights on Thursday condemned the attacks and demanded that the government do more to protect journalists and ensure a free press.
They said the police had not delivered significant results when it came to solving cases of media attacks.
“We have no choice but to urge the police and prosecution to do their job and to hope that in these cases justice will be delivered,” the head of the union, Marijan Camović, said.
A government commission set up to look into attacks on journalists noted that two almost identical attacks had occurred in only two days, adding that journalists in Montenegro do not feel free to do their work professionally.
The chair of the commission, Nikola Markovic, said he was convinced that no one would have dared to attack media workers or their property had previous attacks on journalists been solved and those reponsible for them punished.
“By failing to address previous attacks on journalists, the police and the prosecution send a message to criminals that the cuture of impunity continues. Such thing can only motivate the criminals,” Markovic said.
The 2014 press freedom report from the US-based watchdog Freedom House said press freedom in Montenegro had deteriorated since 2012.
Independent outlets such as Vjesti, Dan, and Monitor had suffered from a wave of lawsuits and hostile government rhetoric as well as physical attacks on reporters, the report noted.
In March, the European Parliament also voiced concern about the state of media freedom in Montenegro, deploring the fact that attacks on journalists and on media property had continued.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)