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News 16 Dec 16

Croatian Journalist Blames Attack on Hateful Atmosphere

Domagoj Margetic, the Croatian investigative journalist who was assaulted in Zagreb on Tuesday, said the 'atmosphere of hate' was partly responsible for such attacks.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Domagoj Margetic. Photo: Facebook/Domagoj Margetic

Croatian investigative journalist Domagoj Margetic said the “atmosphere of hate” in society was one possible reason for the assault on him on Tuesday in a square in Zagreb.

An unidentified man holding a bottle first insulted Margetic and then started to hit him on the head and body. Margetic later received medical treatment.

Although security cameras filmed the incident, police have not yet established the identity of the assailant.

Margetic told BIRN that he does not know who the attacker was, who would order such a thing or what the reason might be.

But he noted that the attacker had shouted: “You will never write again”, indicating he was aware that Margetic was a journalist.

“I don’t think it was professionally done… but an ‘atmosphere of hate’ is being created in society where all of us who criticise some processes or incidents are marked out as ‘enemies of Croatia’ or as enemies of the so-called national interest,” he said.

Margetic noted that on Monday a right-wing news portal had published a hostile story about him, due to his testimony before the Serbian War Crimes Prosecution Office in 2010 about war crimes committed by the Croatian army against Serbs in Croatian town of Sisak in 1991 and 1992.

“When someone see a text like that, when they are incited by the whole atmosphere in society, he probably thinks he is defending Croatia from Margetic,” the journalist said, adding that he “can’t claim for sure this is the reason”.

Political leaders had failed to address such issues publicly, both after this incident and after other, earlier attacks on journalists, he said.

The Croatia's journalists association, the HND, condemned the incident on Tuesday as did the European Federation of Journalists, to which the HND is affiliated.

Margetic was attacked on the same spot in 2014 and attackers were never found.

This November, he said he found graffiti reading: "You are dead, you journalistic scumbag" at the entrance of his building in Zagreb.

An investigator into crime and corruption cases, he is currently an editor of "No censorship", a show on TV station Mreza.

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