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Attacks against Leading Montenegrin Daily Should be Thoroughly Investigated
Freedom House condemns the recent bomb attack against the independent Montenegrin newspaper Vijesti, and urges authorities to thoroughly investigate the attack as well as offer greater protection to the paper and its journalists. The December 26 bombing damaged the paper’s offices but did not injure any staff.
The explosion is the latest in a string of attacks on Vijesti. Company cars have been subject to arson attacks, an employee’s home was bombed, and several staff members have been assaulted and received verbal death threats. Although some of these incidents have been prosecuted, local and international monitors remain concerned that the persons behind the attacks have not been identified and that the perpetrators have received lenient sentences.
“Unsolved attacks against one of Montenegro’s leading newspapers are a major threat to media freedom in the country,” said Karin Karlekar, project director of Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press report. “We urge authorities to thoroughly investigate these incidents, especially since Vijesti appears to be targeted because of its independent reporting into key issues such as corruption and official malfeasance.”
Montenegro is currently rated as Partly Free in Freedom House’s annual media freedom index, and ranks 74th out of 197 countries and territories worldwide. Although legal protections have improved, including the decriminalization of defamation, media outlets remain subject to significant political and economic pressures, and the threat of retributive physical attacks against journalists is a key issue of concern in the country.
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