Montenegro: With a shot in the leg Olivera Lakic was sent a message to stop reporting

Јournalist of Daily “Vijesti”  from Podgorica, Olivera Lakić, was wounded in the leg on front of the building where she lives.

Lakić said that a man approached near the entrance of the building where she lives, and shot her in the leg. She saw two other men running away. The bullet passed through her right leg, but Lakić is out of danger, “Vijesti” reported on 8 May.

Olivera Lakić is the most targeted journalist in Montenegro:

  • In March 2012 she was beaten in front of her home,
  • The year before she had been threatened twice for a series of articles on alleged illegal production and smuggling of cigarettes.
  • In 2014 she received threats from persons close to the man who attacked her in 2012.

Montenegrin authorities prosecuted most of the persons who threatened Lakić, but never investigated who ordered these threats and attacks.

Additionally, Lakić’s claims regarding cigarette smuggling have not been conclusively investigated.

The attack on Lakić is the third case of attacks and threats against journalists recorded in Montenegro in 2018 and tenth since 2017.

The majority of the most serious cases of attacks on journalists still remain unsolved. No one at the Police or the Prosecution has ever been held responsible for this.

According to the statement by the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (TUMM),

Lakić has obviously been followed and then attacked in front of the building where she lives. It is clear that attackers with this dishonorable shot wanted to send her a message to stop with reporting on suspicious and criminal affairs, which she has been doing with for years.

“The future of media scene in Montenegro depends on solving this case. If it remains unsolved, journalists should seriously consider alternative ways of protecting their lives and professional integrity“, stated Marijana Camovic, TUMM president, and concluded that “The state of Montenegro must not be a synonym for a place where free word is threatened by bullets.”

Relevant authorities and high officials last night swiftly condemned the attack, states TUMM hoping that it is finally clear to them that declarative statements will not be useful if the perpetrators are not found and prosecuted.

“We have a long and disgraceful history of the impunity for attacks on journalists in Montenegro. Until now no one out of those accountable for solving cases of attacks on journalists has not borne any responsibility for unprofessional or poorly done work.”, reads TUMM’ statement on the attack.

“It is time to stop this practice because since the worst case of attacks on journalists – the murder of Duško Jovanović in 2004 – the pattern has not significantly changed.”, TUMM states and adds that ff this case remains unsolved, journalists must seriously consider alternative ways for defending their lives and professional integrity.

Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for advocating media freedom and journalists’ safety, which represents more than 8000 members, also strongly condemns the brutal attack and states that any attack on journalists is an attack on the public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens.