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OSCE, SEEMO Condemn Attack On Montenegrin Journalist

Olivera Lakic (photo courtesy of "Vijesti")

Olivera Lakic (photo courtesy of "Vijesti")

European rights organizations have condemned the beating of a Montenegrin journalist near her home in the capital, Podgorica.

In statements, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute, welcomed police assurances that an investigation will be carried out into the attack on Olivera Lakic.

The groups also noted that the assault was not the first targeting the Montenegrin daily "Vijesti."

Lakic was reportedly struck on the head several times in the attack late on March 7 near her home in the Montenegrin capital.

She was hospitalized overnight and released the next day.

"This is yet another dangerous blow to the normalcy and security of the citizens of this country, where, it seems, people can no longer honestly do their job without being attacked in front of their homes," said Mihaljo Jovovic, editor in chief of the daily "Vijesti."

"So, organized crime has no problems whatsoever to continue doing what it is doing when the state does not do its job," he continued. "In my opinion, the greatest problem is that there are people in senior positions in government who regard attacks on journalists who criticize the government and write about the Mafia not as attacks on the state but as attacks on the enemies of the state," Jovovic said.

Lakic authored a series of articles in 2011 alleging fraud in connection with the production of phony branded cigarettes at a Montenegrin tobacco factory.

With RFE/RL, dpa, and local media reporting