Montenegro: Four attacks on journalists in half a year

PODGORICA, 03.08.2018. – Montenegro Police Directorate from December last to early July this year reported four attacks on journalists or on their property.

In the semi-annual Report of the Government of Montenegro for Chapter 23, it is stated that these are threats to journalist Sead Sadikovic, as well as the installation of an explosive device in front of his house, threats to journalist Jelena Jovanovic, wounding of journalist Olivera Lakic and damage to premises of daily newspapers Sloboda. So far, only cases in which Sadikovic and Jovanovic were injured have been resolved.

“In cases where perpetrators of the criminal act at the detriment of journalists haven’t been discovered, actions are being carried out continuously for the purpose of disclosure“, the document states.

In response to a suggestion to introduce a system of preventive measures undertaken in order to protect journalists, from the Police Directorate emphasized that operational inspections on the ground were continuously carried out. They said they do it “in relation to persons that could endanger the safety of journalists and analyze the situation in the written and electronic media – whether their current activity can have the consequences and endanger the safety of employees in those media”.

The document also highlights the need to “ensure the protection of journalists from threats and violence, in particular through effective investigations of previous attacks and deterrent punishment”. As well as “it is necessary to re-examine and amend the legal regulations and the institutional framework for the protection of the freedom of the media“.

The biggest problem in the work of the Commission for Investigating Attacks on Journalists and Media was, as noted, the fact that the results of its work weren’t familiar to the public, since the reports on work weren’t published until December last year.

The document states that this change came only after the initiative of 11 non-governmental organizations, and that the Commission’s work reports were published on December 27, 2017.

The government says that in case of an attack on Mladen Stojović, the Commission found a failure of the prosecutor’s office, which did not hear two persons, and that after the publication of the report of that body, the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office from Bar heard them.

“On the implementation of other recommendations, we do not have information, even though we asked the General Secretariat for reporting on it,” the report says.

Also, it is added that the Government is obliged to refer the Commission’s recommendations to the correct addresses and to take care of their implementation, but that there is no information about it.

SMCG, Podgorica, 03/08/2018