New York, September 13, 2017–The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Montenegrin authorities to ensure the safety of Vladimir Otasevic, a reporter with the national opposition daily newspaper Dan (Day).
Dan yesterday released a recording Otasevic made of a Monday telephone conversation with a man who responded affirmatively when asked if he was Velizar Markovic, the brother of Montenegro’s prime minister. During the conversation, the man believed to be Markovic threatened Otasevic, and referenced the murder of Dan‘s former editor-in-chief, Dusko Jovanovic, who was shot dead leaving the newspaper’s office in Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, in 2004.
“We call on Montenegrin authorities to condemn the threat against Vladimir Otasevic, and to ensure that journalists can work safely in Montenegro without fear of attack,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “Threats against journalists must be taken seriously, especially in Montenegro where impunity in attacks against the press remains the norm.”
The prime minister’s family dismissed the accusation that Velizar Markovic threatened the reporter, according to the English-language site Balkan Insight.
In remarks to journalists today, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic advised reporters to leave politicians’ family members out of politics. “Do your jobs as you wish–write, fabricate, insult the PM, but leave my family alone,” he said, according to the local CDM news site.