Journalist of Radio and Television of Montenegro Ana Popovic began to receive threats on January 22st through the social network Instagram, the day after she reported from the protests in Podgorica. The journalist reported the case to the Police on January 25th, and later on January 28th again because an unknown person tried to extort money from her (5.000 euros). The Basic Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica classified this case as a criminal offence that is prosecuted ex officio.
Marijana Camovic Velickovic, president of the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro, expressed concern about the increasing number of attacks on journalists during protests or as a result of reporting about protests that are now happening almost daily in Montenegro. “Polarisation in society, caused by the political situation, is very high and, as always, the price is paid by media workers who just do their job”, Camovic Velickovic stated. She pointed out that the blackmailing was followed by the threat. “We expect from the police and the prosecution to inform the public about the identity of the perpetrator and the measures they will take in this case immediately because several days have passed since the incident took place. It is encouraging that this attack has already been marked as a criminal offence prosecuted ex officio”, said Camovic Velickovic.
Journalist Popovic said that “unfortunately, threats and pressures have become an integral part of journalism”. She stated that many of her colleagues have already been exposed to these challenges. “At first, I was not sure if I should report those threats. However, the threats continued and came from the same address and it was more and more unpleasant. I was really upset and felt threatened and worried about my safety”. Popovic added that she hopes for revealing the perpetrators of those threats “will contribute to the creation of a society in which there will be no more similar attacks on journalists, or at least to keep them on minimum”.
SafeJournalists Network, representing more than 8,200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, stands in solidarity with the colleague Ana Popovic. We welcome the fact that the authorities reacted swiftly in this case and hope they will find the perpetrator quickly and punish him adequately. We expect full transparency from the authorities about this and all other cases.
SafeJournalists Network will inform all relevant national and international stakeholders about this case.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy, and all citizens’ rights.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb, February 3, 2022
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
BH Journalists Association
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro