Montenegro welcomes 2 November, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, in the shadow of unresolved murders and attempted murders, physical assaults, threats and attacks on media property.
Murder of Duško Jovanović, editor in chief of daily Dan, remains unsolved for 11 years, and murder of Srđan Vojičić, who was killed while protecting writer Jevrem Brković, who was the target of physical assault, has not been solved for 9 years.
There was no progress in the investigation of attempted murder of journalist Tufik Softić (from 2007) and activation of explosive device in front of his house (from 2013), the investigation of physical attacks on journalists Mladen Stojović (from 2008) has been suspended without results, beating of director of Vijesti, Željko Ivanović, (2007) has not been prosecuted convincingly, perpetrators of burning three cars of daily Vijesti (from 2011 and 2014) have not been detected, and death threats to journalist of daily Vijesti Olivera Lakić have not been punished.
HRA expects the Commission for monitoring actions of the competent state authorities regarding the investigations of old and recent cases of intimidation and violence against journalists, murders of journalists and attacks on media property to point to civil servants responsible for inefficient investigations in these cases. HRA believes that determining responsibility for both attacks on journalists and concealing the perpetrators of the attacks is crucial for preventing the attacks in the future. HRA also believes that prescribing stricter punishments for attacks on journalists in the Criminal Code could deter potential attackers and promote the culture of respect for human rights.
HRA emphasizes that the Commission’s hands are significantly and unjustifiably tied in this matter, as the Police Directorate denied access to requested data, although the Commission members have been authorized to access all data, regardless of their classification level. HRA criticised the Opinion of the Agency for protection of personal data and free access to information that the Police Directorate must not enable the Commission insight into personal data recorded in investigation records and the previous proceeding as it was not neither appropriately reasoned nor established in the law.
The journalists in Montenegro were exposed to pressures, threats and physical violence in 2015 as well.
Since the beginning of 2015, journalists were a subject of at least 16 different attacks in the form of physical assaults, threats or destruction of property. Damaging of tie rod end on the vehicle of RTCG director, Rade Vojvodić has been recorded – although the damage, according to information from RTCG, was proved by forensic findings, the perpetrator hasn’t been identified, nor has the prosecution published the results of the investigation. Journalists were threatened at least 5 times. The media have not published all threats. The perpetrators of threats are being prosecuted except in the case of the first threat to editor of TV Vijesti, Marijana Bojanić, from 18 October, where the perpetrator has not yet been identified. This year 8 cases of destruction of property of journalists or media have been recorded, half of which have not been solved yet.
During the protests, from 17 October to date, several physical assaults on journalists have been recorded, whereby the physical assault of a police officer on the editor of portal IN4S, Gojko Raičević, has been documented by a video recording. At least 8 cases of injuring journalists (that were injured during carrying out their journalistic tasks, although it cannot be concluded that they were the target of the attack), threats or preventing journalists from doing their job have been recorded.
By the end of the year HRA will collect and publish information about the outcome of the initiated proceedings as a supplement to report “Prosecution of Attacks on Journalists in Montenegro” from January 2014.