26 Sep 2018 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 26 Sep 2018 n° 106/2018 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Journalist Told “to Look for Suspicious Things Under Her Vehicle” After Writing Articles About Police Chief

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ
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Partner Index EFJ/IFJ
Several police officers advised Milanka Kovačević, journalist for the news website Direkt-Portal.com, to “be careful”, “not to walk alone at night” and “to look for suspicious things under her vehicle” after she wrote a series of investigative stories on the wrongdoings of the chief of police station in the Bosnia and Herzegovina town of Trebinje, Žarko Laketa, news website Zurnal.info reported.

Laketa, according to Zurnal.info, during police meetings, asked his junior officers “who is she ?” and “how can she write such things ?”.

In the articles, Kovačević held Laketa responsible for nepotism, unprofessionalism, and connection with criminal groups in Trebinje, news website Gerila.info reported.

After Kovačević’s articles appeared Dragan Lukač, the interior minister of Republika Srpska -- one of the two constitutional entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina -- asked Laketa to file a law suit if the allegations are not true, Zurnal.info reported.

Following this intervention, Laketa filed on 3 September, 2018 a suit for libel against Kovačević asking around 1.500 Euros on the ground of damaging his reputation.

In a written statement, published by several media outlets, the BH Journalists union's Banja Luka subdivision condemned the incident stating that “an atmosphere was created in which journalists were labelled as targets” and warned that “the situation is getting worse.”
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