Montenegro‘s reputation and European prospects have suffered serious damage over the shooting of a journalist, European Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in Podgorica on Friday.
“This has an impact on the standing and reputation of the country … It is on our radar screen and we expect a proper investigation,” Hahn told reporters after meeting investigative reporter Olivera Lakic who was shot in front of her home earlier this week.
Hahn also visited the Vijesti newspaper where Lakic works.
He said that freedom of expression is a fundamental right which should be available to everyone, adding that the attack on Lakic is an attack on media freedom, freedom of expression, the central value of the European Union. Recent attacks on Lakic and other numerous unresolved attacks on journalists raise serious concerns about rule of law in Montenegro. The European Union expects these cases to be properly investigated and perpetrators and masterminds to be brought to justice, Hahn wrote on his Twitter account.
One should be aware of the seriousness, consequences and reputational risks of such attacks for the country on its EU path. The Rule of law and fundamental rights are at the heart of the EU accession process!, he added. Hahn also warned that Montenegro cannot have European prospects if it does not invest effort to solve the case. This is about something that is not negotiable, this is about the EU and the right of every individual, not just journalists. This case tops aour agenda with Montenegro, Hahn said.
Lakic was shot in the leg in front of her home on Tuesday evening. The attack drew condemnation from both the government and opposition and a protest in front of the hospital she was taken to by fellow journalists. Lakic was assaulted several years ago following a series of articles about the illegal tobacco trade.