The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, which represents more than 8,000 members, strongly condemns the physical attack on journalist Vladimir Otasevic, who was attacked in Podgorica by security guard of a controversial businessman who was in the company of a Senior State Prosecutor who did not respond.
In the shopping mall Delta City Otasevic was trying to photograph businessman Zoran Becirovic in the company of Senior State Prosecutor Milos Soskic, when he was attacked by bodyguard of Becirovic – he punched him, threatened and insulted him. The journalist claims that the prosecutor had been calmly watching the attack on him. Few days before the incident in the Delta, Becirovic was arrested by order of the Special State Prosecutor’s Office on suspicion of threatening one of the expert witnesses and charged with committing a criminal offense – obstruction of proof. It turned out that the bodyguard, Mladen Mijatovic, is a member of the Ministry of the Interior Affairs and they did not have the Ministry’s license for this engagement.
“We asked that the responsibility of the attacker Mladen Mijatovic, who is a MIA officer, be examined, and that the Prosecutor’s Office should determine the possible disciplinary and criminal responsibility of Senior State Prosecutor Milos Soskic, who, according to the testimony of journalist Otasevic, did nothing to prevent the attack even though he was only a few meters away. SMCG reiterates that attacks on journalists are unacceptable and must be severely punished given the history of such attacks in Montenegro. After a long time, this year could have been the first without serious physical attacks on media employees, but once again it proved that the concern for the media environment and working conditions of journalists and media in Montenegro are fully justified”, said Marijana Camovic, President of Trade Union of Media of Montenegro.
The Regional Platform supports SMCG in its efforts to protect journalists and freedom of speech and calls on relevant authorities in Montenegro, above all the police and prosecutors, to do their jobs conscientiously and not to cause attack on journalists, as is this case, because such behavior is unacceptable and it should be under the honor of police officers and prosecutors.
Every attack on a journalist is an attack on the public interest, democracy and human rights.
Sarajevo – Podgorica – Zagreb – Prishtina – Skopje – Belgrade, 06.12.2019
BH Journalists Association
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Independent Journalists Association Serbia