May 29, 2024

29.05.2024 – Nacional Journalists Face Disturbing Threats

On Monday 20 May 2024, the editorial team at Nacional ( received a alarming message on their official editorial mobile phone. The message accused them for spreading lies, linking them to the attempted murder of Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico.

It is written: “You and those like you carried out an attempted murder of Prime Minister Fico by writing half-truths, lies and inciting against people who do their job – in order to make money. Your triple informant paid for it with his head, and soon all the editors from the ‘axis of evil’ will too. We are waiting for the moment to catch as many of you together as possible so that we don’t waste explosives for just one scavenger. The vultures who survive will start writing the truth and only the truth, not lying, inventing and writing to order just to make money. We are following you and getting more than two will be successful, so write your wills…”

In response to this alarming threat, the editorial staff promptly informed the Minister of the Interior of Croatia, Davor Božinović, and submitted a detailed report to police investigators at the Police Department’s headquarters in Zagreb, Croatia.

For South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), Berislav Jelinić, the editor-in-chief of Nacional, shared his thoughts, stating: “The police have reacted appropriately and in line with the seriousness of the situation. They have kept me informed about the progress of the case throughout the week, and I hope for a successful resolution of the criminal investigation. This is a sinister threat, deliberately crafted, and it alludes to the earlier bomb attack on Ivo Pukanić. It also directly refers to recent statements made by Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković about the media scene, which Nacional published in the form of transcripts and audio recordings just before the recent parliamentary elections, understandably generating significant public interest.”

Ivo Pukanić was a Croatian journalist and media owner. He was founder and editor-in-chief of the Nacional. Since 2001 he was regularly informing the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) via emails, phones and in personal meetings about death threats he is receiving. Ivo Pukanić and his daughter received police protection immediately after the first attempt to kill him in early April 2008. In July 2008, the Croatian police announced to Pukanić that they intended to cancel this protection, which Pukanić expressly opposed. In August 2008 the police canceled the protection. On 23 October 2008 Pukanić was killed when a bomb exploded in front of his car close to the Nacional building at Palmotićeva 3 in the center of Zagreb. Along with Pukanić, Niko Franjić, one of the marketing employees of NCL Media Group, which publishes the weekly magazine Nacional, was also killed. Jelinić, a good friend of Pukanić, has been under police protection for several years.

The South East Europe Media Organisation SEEMO strongly condemns the threats made against the editorial staff of Nacional. The threat represents a grave attack on press freedom and the safety of media professionals. Such intimidation tactics are unacceptable and endanger the fundamental rights of journalists to report the truth without fear. SEEMO stands in solidarity with Nacional and calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate these threats and ensure the protection of all journalists and arrested the person or persons responsible for this threat. SEEMO is also asking the leading politicians in Croatian to respect journalist and not to use a language that could be a call for an attack.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

#fyp #mediafreedom #seemo #freespeech #southeasteuropemediaorganisation #ngo #journalist #croatia #nacional #journalistattacked #journalistthreat #SEEMO #pressfreedom #mediafreedom