The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemns the latest attack on the Montenegrin daily newspaper Vijesti. On 14 July 2011, two clearly-marked company cars were torched right across the street from the National Security Agency. An unidentified person poured gasoline on the cars and set them ablaze. Nobody was injured. No other parked cars were targeted. Top Montenegrin politicians, including the president and the prime minister, condemned the attack.
In spite of their prompt reaction, Montenegrin authorities have not been efficient in creating an environment in which journalists can work free from pressure. As SEEMO reported in previous years, Vijesti has been a deliberate target on several occasions.
On 24 September 2010 Zeljko Ivanovic, one of Vijesti 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 whilst documenting their illegal parking in town. The mayor’s son used his gun to threaten the journalist. Jovovic was treated in hospital for the 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 help. Although the perpetrators of this attack were found, the masterminds remain at large.
“I urge the authorities in Montenegro to do everything in their power find the perpetrators, and prevent such incidents from happening in the future. It is in the interest of Montenegrin democracy that journalists be allowed to investigate stories free of any pressure,” said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic.