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news 17 Jul 14

Two Held in Montenegro For Attacking Journalist

Police have detained two persons suspected of involvement in an assault on a journalist in 2007, as part of an attempted crackdown on attacks on journalist.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica

Montenegrin police said they had detained two men on Thursday suspected of being involved in the attack on Tufik Softic, a journalist from the opposition daily newspaper Vijesti.  

“Vladimir Labudovic and Ivan Asanovic were arrested in the town of Budva for the [suspected] criminal offence of attempted murder,” the police stated on Thursday.  

Softic was the victim of a brutal attack near his home in November 2007, when he was beaten up in front of his home in the northern town of Berane by two hooded assailants.
Softic, a reporter for independent daily newspaper in Berane, was placed under police protection in February after the National Security Agency estimated that he was not safe.

The journalist has been the victim of a several attacks in his home town in past years. On August 11, 2013, an explosive device was detonated in front of the his home. He was at home at the time. The assailants were not found.

The arrests on Thursday come in the of wake of international calls for Montenegro to do more to clamp down on attacks on journalists, and do more to bring those behind such assaults to book.

A 2013 report by the Watchdog Freedom House noted that while press freedom was guaranteed by the constitution in Monetenegro, and was “generally respected in practice… the media environment is affected by problems including editorial bias and the physical intimidation of journalists”.

In June, the authorities noted that preventing violence against journalists was a key obligation for the country if it wanted to make progress towards eventual European Union accession.

The police are currently working on the risk assessment of the vulnerability of employees in the media in general.

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