MONTENEGRO: SEEMO Condemns Latest Attack on Montenegrin daily Vijesti

MONTENEGRO, MONTENEGRO, 29/08/2011

One month after a car belonging to the Montenegrin daily Vijesti was torched, a new company car was set ablaze on 27 August 2011. This is the third attack on Vijesti property since 14 July 2011, when the first two cars were torched. All four cars – destroyed in three separate attacks – were clearly marked.

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemns the series of targeted attacks against the Montenegrin daily newspaper Vijesti. “There seems to be a clear pattern developing here with Vijesti cars systemically set on fire,” said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic.

Despite the prompt condemnations of the previous attacks, Montenegrin authorities have not been effective in creating an environment in which journalists can work free from pressure.

On 24 September 2010, Zeljko Ivanovic, one of Vijesti’s founders, and several other journalists, received death threats by mail.

On 5 August 2009, Mihailo Jovovic, editor of Vijesti, and Boris Pejovic, a photojournalist, were physically attacked by the mayor of Podgorica and his son while documenting their illegal parking in town. The mayor's son used his gun to threaten the journalist. Jovovic was treated in hospital for a head injury.

On 1 September 2007, Zeljko Ivanovic was physically attacked by several assailants near a restaurant, where the newspaper was celebrating its 10th anniversary. Ivanovic was injured and received medical treatment. Although the perpetrators of this attack were found, the masterminds remain at large.

“The recurrent attacks on Vijesti lead me to believe that this daily is a deliberate target. I urge the authorities in Montenegro to do everything in their power to find the perpetrators, and prevent such incidents from happening in the future," said Oliver Vujovic.

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