Olivera Lakić wounded outside her home in the country’s second attack on a journalist in a month
An investigative reporter who covers crime and corruption in Montenegro has been shot and injured in an attack that prompted calls from the European Union and the US to protect journalists in the Balkan country.
Olivera Lakić, a journalist for the Montenegrin newspaper Vijesti, was wounded in the right leg outside her home in the capital, Podgorica. She was taken to a hospital and was reported out of danger.
Police said the attack happened around 9pm. A search for the attackers was underway, including increased controls throughout the city and a review of surveillance cameras in the area, police said.
Vijesti’s chief editor, Mihailo Jovović, said Lakić told him a man approached her and shot her, while two other men ran away.
She was attacked six years ago after she wrote a series of articles about alleged murky dealings over a tobacco factory. That perpetrator was jailed for several months and Lakić had police protection for a while.
“I am speechless,” Jovović said in comments published on the Vijesti website. “For how much longer will this be happening? A lot of stories she wrote have not been investigated [by the authorities]. For how much longer must we live in fear of such cowards?”
Prime minister Duško Marković condemned the attack and urged a “swift and efficient investigation” to discover the motive as well as who might have ordered it.
The assault, the second against a journalist in a month, prompted international concern. Last month a bomb exploded near the home of a prominent journalist in the northern town of Bijelo Polje.
The US embassy in Podgorica tweeted that it was “following with concern the attack tonight on journalist Olivera Lakić.” It said journalists “are the guardians of democracy and must be protected so they can do their jobs in safety”.
Aivo Orav, head of the EU delegation in Montenegro, called the attack “very worrying.” In the tweet, Orav said that “journalists must be protected.”
Montenegro is a former Yugoslav republic that joined Nato last year and is now also seeking EU membership. The long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists has faced accusations of widespread crime and corruption.
The EU, which Montenegro hopes to join by 2025, along with international human rights and media organisations have been insisting that the authorities solve a string of attacks against journalists and media organisations.
Many of the dozen or so assaults in the last 15 years, including the 2004 murder of editor Duško Jovanović, remain unresolved.