Montenegro’s civil society has accused the country’s PM of encouraging attacks on journalists after two journalists were abused at the Democratic Party of Socialists’ convention on Thursday.Goran Malidzan, a journalist of the Podgorica-based daily newspapers Vijesti, and Bozidar Jelovac, his colleague from the daily newspaper Dan, claim they were verbally and physically attacked on Thursday in Pljevlja by the Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, activists and former police officers.
As a response, Vijesti’s editor-in-chief, Mihailo Jovovic, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Igor Luksic on Friday.
Jovovic claims that a speech Luksic gave at the DPS convention in Pljevlja on Thursday directly encouraged the attack.
In his speech, Luksic said that the newspapers Dan and Vijesti, NGO Network for Affirmation of Non-Governmental Sector, MANS, also constitute the opposition in Montenegro, alongside the two recently formed political parties and coalitions – the Positive Montenegro, PCG, and the Democratic Front .
“It is the same head, speaking through various mouths. Those are not independent media, but the media aligned behind the same “kitchen”. When you boil it altogether, it does not smell good,” Luksic said.
Jovovic wrote that Luksic’s party activists understood his speech as a green light to attack those journalists “who didn’t smell that good” and who were threatening the DPS rule.
Ana Novakovic, the head of the Centre for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations, CRNVO, also claims that Luksic’s speech delivered a bad message.
Luksic condemned the incident in Pljevlja denying the accusations that his speech encouraged the attacks.
The DPS stated that authorities should determine what happened after the convention in Pljevlja, without pressures of any kind, including those from the media.
It added that the accusations that the party called for “lynch” of journalists are unfounded, pointing out that they are coming from the media which are anti – DPS.
“Because of their unprofessionalism, those media need to be prepared for criticism,” reads the DPS statement.