MONTENEGRO: Hundreds protest after investigative journalist Olivera Lakic shot

(Independent) An investigative journalist has been shot in Montenegro leading to hundreds of people taking to the streets in protest.

Olivera Lakic, who works for the independent Vijesti daily as a crime and corruption reporter, was shot in the leg outside her home in Podgorica, the capital.

Protesters demanded that the authorities find the assailants, carrying banners reading “Stop violence,” or “For a life without fear”.

Ms Lakic remains in a local hospital following the attack which has drawn US and European Union concern.

It is the latest attack on journalists in the small Balkan country that is seeking EU membership.

Protesters who gathered outside the government building in Podgorica accused the authorities of doing little to solve a series of attack on journalists in recent years.

Those included another attack on Ms Lakic six years ago and a bomb explosion outside another crime reporter’s home last month.

Zeljko Ivanovic, general manager of Vijesti, said there have been a total of 25 attacks on the paper’s journalists and offices. The daily is known for its independent and critical journalism.

“They [the government] created an atmosphere in which there are state enemies and traitors,” said Mr Ivanovic.

“Can this society survive without a single free media, journalist or intellectual?”

Olivera Ivanovic, a fellow journalist from the national TV Montenegro, said 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.”

Ms Lakic has written about alleged murky businesses involving top state officials and their families.

Montenegro’s long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists has faced repeated accusations of corruption and crime links, which it denies.

The party on Wednesday announced plans to introduce tougher sanctions for attacks on journalists, saying they “must be most harshly punished.”

Featured image: Associate Press