Human Rights Action was horrified by yesterday’s bomb explosion in front of the daily Vijesti building and office window of editor-in-chief Mihailo Jovović. This is the latest attack in a systematic series of attacks on this media outlet – the third attack this year and fourteenth since 2007, when Vijesti Director Željko Ivanović was beaten.
Since then, journalists and photojournalists of this media outlet have been physically attacked on several occasions: journalist Tufik Softić was beaten in 2007 and in August this year an explosive device was thrown in the backyard of his house. In August 2009 editor-in-chief Mihailo Jovović and photojournalist Boris Pejović were physically assaulted, while the case of violent behaviour toward TV Vijesti team occurred in 2011. Also, Olivera Lakić was physically attacked in 2012 and threatened prior to the attack, Goran Malidžan in 2012 and Ivan Petrušić in 2013. Furthermore, three cases of setting Vijesti vehicles on fire took place from July to August 2011, which have not been resolved to date. This year Vijesti premises were stoned twice in one month.
This is now clearly a campaign of attacks against Vijesti, none of which has been fully resolved so far by the state authorities. The fact that the Prime Minister called Vijesti “media mafia”, although the public is not aware that this media outlet is under any criminal investigation, feeds suspicion that the state agents were behind these attacks or that the state authorities are not motivated to shed light on the background of previous attacks.
HRA once again appeals to the competent authorities to immediately and fully investigate this and all other attacks, to identify persons who ordered the attacks and their motive, as this is crucial for freedom of expression in Montenegro, as well as for the daily Vijesti.
After the third attack this year HRA also expects the Police Directorate, in agreement with Vijesti, to assess their safety and provide them with adequate security.
HRA hopes that the Commission for monitoring actions of competent authorities in the investigation of old and recent cases of threats and violence against journalists and murders of journalists, which was formed on the day of the attack against Vijesti and journalistic profession, will help shed light on all previous attacks and achieve justice in Montenegro.