On April 12, 2020, in the coastal Croatian city of Split, several unidentified men attacked Živana Šušak Živković, a reporter working for local news website Dalmatinskiportal, and Ivana Sivro, a camera operator for local broadcaster N1 TV, while they were documenting an Easter Mass held despite a ban on public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, according to local news reports.
The men were demonstrating in support of a priest who called on worshippers to attend Mass, and held signs with the insignia of the Ustasa movement, a Croatian fascist group active until the end of World War II, and signs reading “Journalists are Worms,” according to regional news website Balkan Insight.
Živković was using her cellphone to record worshipers gathering in the church when a man approached her and grabbed her phone, then a group shoved her and pinned her hand to the door of the church, daily newspaper Dnevnik reported. Živković suffered minor bruising from the attack, her employer reported.
Another man hit Sivro in the arm and shoved her camera, as seen in a video published by N1 TV.
Two men are being prosecuted for assaulting Živković, and a third for attacking Sivro, according to Balkan Insight.
In a statement, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Split-Makarsko apologized for the attack, according to reports.
CPJ emailed questions to the archdiocese and to the press department of the Croatian Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the police, but did not receive any replies.
[Editors’ Note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Ivana Sivro’s name.]