The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is deeply troubled by assaults on media workers in Croatia that occurred in August.
Photo-journalist Hrvoje Simcevic from the H-Alter web portal was attacked on 5 August in Rijeka. While waiting for a bus to Zagreb, the journalist was harassed at the bus stop by a group of young men. The men were allegedly football hooligans protesting a roundtable that Simcevic was covering called “Women in war”. The attackers allegedly verbally harassed the people waiting at the bus stop, and then attacked persons they recognized as having exited the roundtable.
On the same evening, the president of a photo club called Oko Samobora was attacked by one of the roundtable participants while he was photographing the event. His camera was damaged, and his attacker was identified by the police.
SEEMO expresses full support for the Croatian Journalist Association (HND) and the victims of assaults, and calls on authorities in Croatia to react. “It does not suffice to only identify the culprits. It is also necessary that authorities penalize persons who attack media workers in accordance with the law. Tensions and hate speech are often gateways for increased forms of harassment against journalists, and Croatian institutions need to send a strong message that this behaviour will not go unpunished”, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic stated.