Balkans: Police react promptly when camera crews attacked in Skopje and Croatia

by Jane Whyatt

A man has physically attacked and insulted two journalists at Slavonski Brod in Croatia, where they were reporting on a shooting that had left one person seriously injured. Visnja Ruzojcic from the public service broadcaster HRT and local news portal SB Plus reporter Aleksandra Primorac were beaten and insulted, and the man also tried to grab Ruzojcic’s camera. Immediately the reporters alerted the police and they responded promptly.

Balkans: police act promptly on attacks HRT is Croatia's public service broadcaster. Photo; Jane Whyatt
Balkans police act promptly logo of the AJM journalists' union

Meanwhile in the Macedonian capital Skopje, a camera crew from Nova TV has been assaulted whilst covering a local initiative to collect signatures for a petition against the building of refugee camps. The attack came from one of the organisers of the petition. He was called in for questioning on the same day by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The man now faces charges for committing violence.

Commenting on the case, ECPMF Advocacy Officer Nora Wehofsits said: "We know from our April 2017 fact-finding-mission to the Republic of Macedonia that there is a bad track record of impunity for those who commit violent attacks on journalists. It is reassuring that in this example, the authorities reacted promptly to defend the journalists’ right to do their job“.

The attack was condemned by the Association of Journalists of Macedonia, which considers it to be an attack against freedom of speech and journalists’ right to be informed.

Both cases have been reported by the Western Balkans Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists' Safety.

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