The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, which represents more than 7800 members, strongly condemns physical attack of Index.hr portal journalist Drago Miljus by the members of the Split police department.
Drago Miljus was standing at the public facility, outside police lines covering the police intervention at the Obojena svijetlost beach in Split. The intervention was related to a suicide bomber who, unfortunately, came through with his intention.
One of the policemen present started driving Miljus off, first verbally and then by pushing him away. The policeman threw Miljus mobile phone into the sea. He was joined by a special police force officer who hit the journalist in the head, knocking him down and splitting his lips.
After the incident, Miljus requested medical assistance at the hospital where his lips were stitched. Split police department announced that it has opened an investigation into this incident and will inform the public about its findings.
“Croatian Journalists Associations welcomes the authorities’ reaction but warns that it has requested from the police to inform the general public about results of their investigations of threats and attacks against journalists on numerous occasions.” – Said Sasa Lekovic, president of CJA – “But it was all in vain. Instead of sharing the information, the police department officers physically attack journalists at work.
The Regional Platform supports CJA’s efforts and calls Croatian institutions to investigate the most recent and previous incidents against journalists and hence prove that these incidents are taken seriously. Implement international standards for the protection of journalists, their security and freedom of expression which are incorporated in national legislation is of utmost importance and will provide free and safe working conditions for journalists and media.
From the beginning of 2017 CJA has recorded 4 cases of physical attacks and 3 cases of threats against journalists in Croatia, including the last incident.
The Regional Platform strongly supports journalists’ and media organizations efforts in protection of journalists and freedom of speech. It considers any attack on journalists an attack on the public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb, 12.10.2017.
BH Journalists Association
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Independent Journalist Association of Serbia