Berlin, June 23, 2022 — Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the alleged arson attack on journalist Nataša Miljanović-Zubac’s car, hold those responsible to account, and ensure her safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
In the early hours of June 15, Miljanović-Zubac’s car was destroyed in a fire while parked at her home in the southern town of Trebinje, according to the journalist, who spoke to CPJ via email, and Safejournalists.net, a news website tracking violence against journalists in the region. The Trebinje prosecutor’s office is investigating the fire on suspicion of arson, that report said.
Miljanović-Zubac, a reporter for the public broadcaster Republic of Srpska Radio Television (RTRS), told CPJ that she believed the attack may be retaliation for her frequent coverage of corruption, organized crime, smuggling, and drug trafficking in the region, saying she frequently receives insults from online commenters and local politicians.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities should conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the alleged arson attack on investigative reporter Nataša Miljanović-Zubac’s car, and consider her reporting as a likely motive,” said Attila Mong, CPJ’s Europe representative. “Authorities should treat this case as a priority, find the perpetrators, and hold them to account. Miljanović-Zubac’s reporting serves the public interest, and her safety and well-being must be ensured.”
Miljanović-Zubac told CPJ that the arson attack “destroyed my only tangible asset which I also heavily used for my reporting purposes.”
“Considering I am not financially able to replace this car, my mobility has been severely affected,” she said. She told CPJ that she was not working on a major story at the moment and did not know who was behind the attack.
CPJ emailed the Trebinje police for comment, but did not immediately receive any reply.
In 2021, a Serbian nationalist politician made misogynistic comments and insulted Miljanović-Zubac in a live TV show, Safejournalists.net reported. Miljanović-Zubac told CPJ she is currently in a legal case against the politician over those comments.