The shooting of a crime reporter in Montenegro drove hundreds of protestors to the streets of the capital, Podgorica, on May 9. They called on the government to do more to protect journalists.

Olivera Lakic, a 39-year-old reporter for the local newspaper Vijesti, was gunned down outside her home. She was wounded in the right leg.

As reported by the Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Lakic had been assaulted and beaten in 2012 after she wrote a series of articles about illegal tobacco manufacturing in Montenegro.

Speaking to DW Serbian, Vijesti general manager Zeljko Ivanovic accused Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic of creating a hostile atmosphere with his public criticism of the paper.

Djukanovic “drew a bullseye on our foreheads and opened a new hunting season on our journalists and reporters,” Ivanovic said.

Several other reporters have also suffered attacks in Montenegro, including journalist Tufik Softic who was brutally beaten and targeted by a bombing attack. Another crime reporter, Sead Sedakovic, had his car blown up last month.

In a separate report, The Independent quoted Olivera Ivanovic, a journalist from the national TV Montenegro, as saying the attack “is not just a message to her, it’s a message to the entire media community”.

“We need to unite and confront this danger,” she said. “We are all exposed.”

Meanwhile, the Council of Europe has published an alert about Lakic’s case on its https://www.coe.int/en/web/media-freedom (platform for the protection and safety of journalists).

“The work of journalists and free media are essential to the functioning of any democracy,” said Thorbjørn Jagland, the secretary general of the Council of Europe. “Attacks on journalists are therefore also an attack on democracy. Unfortunately, such attacks are on the rise. This is a key concern for the Council of Europe and we must do all we can to stop this dangerous trend.”