Nine days after two clearly marked Vijesti company cars were set ablaze on 14 July 2011 in front of the National Security Agency in Podgorica, Montenegro, on 23 July 2011 another car belonging to the daily was torched. The car was parked in another location.
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.
Just like on 15 July 2011, when SEEMO reported the previous attack, top Montenegrin politicians condemned the latest incident.
However, despite the prompt condemnations, 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 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 SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic.