We are sad to report that there were several incidents at yesterday’s protest against EU Digital COVID Certificate and epidemiological measures. In one, an RTL journalist was physically attacked, and in the other, the Nova TV team and HRT team were surrounded and verbally attacked. The Al Jazeera Balkans team was also exposed to insults.
During the protests, RTL TV reporter Goran Latković was attacked on Ban Josip Jelačić Square, and the protesters surrounded and verbally insulted the Nova TV team with journalist Petra Buljan.
Latković received an elbow blow to the ribs, and the attackers attacked him from behind and punched him in the head.
Journalists were generally not well received at the protest because the gathered citizens, as could be heard during the protest, were convinced that the media were ‘mercenaries’ of the National Civil Protection Headquarters.
“They insulted us all the time, all journalists in general. They chanted: ‘RTL is leaving!’ ‘, Latković told his colleagues from RTL.
Latković said that they first hit him in the ribs with their elbows, then two people punched him from the back on the head. As for verbal attacks, an RTL reporter said, their television crew was not the only target. “All the journalists were cursed.”
In the evening, Latković wrote on Twitter:
– Thank you all for caring. I’m fine, and I’m not hurt. However, I want to take this opportunity to express my great support to all my colleagues who reported the protests today and were verbally or physically assaulted. Because of the fight for the freedom of their attitudes and beliefs, others do not have to suffer, Latković wrote on Twitter.
Protesters surrounded and verbally insulted the Nova TV team with journalist Petra Buljan.
– You are manipulating these people; you can all be afraid. You are the greatest fascist. Take off your mask. Do you want me to take your mask off? Ha, rubbish, the protesters shouted at the Nova TV team” – the verbal attack on herself and the entire Nova TV team was described by reporter Buljan- “We were among the people and filmed statements.
Suddenly several individuals started yelling at us that we were mercenaries, and they threw a few insults at us. People around us gathered and started chanting, “Nova TV is leaving,” and started pushing the cameraman. After a while, we moved away from that group of people,” Buljan said.
Al Jazeera journalist Nikolina Zavisic was picked at by a group of protesters during a live broadcast.
The Trade Union of Croatian Journalist and Croatian Journalists’ Association strongly condemned the physical attack on RTL journalist Goran Latkovic at a protest against covid confirmations on Saturday, and called on police to investigate the judiciary to enforce the sentence and the Government to condemn the act unequivocally.
We published: “At the protest, which, according to the organizers, is part of the fight for freedom, our colleagues were denied the right to work freely and report in the public interest.
TUCJ and CJA provide full support to their colleague Latković and all journalists, camera people, radio and television technicians, and photo reporters, who are exposed to attacks by opponents of corona measures almost every day. We, therefore, expect the police to urgently investigate and find the perpetrators of the attack on a colleague, the judicial institutions to punish them, and the Government to unequivocally condemn them.
TUCJ and CJA once again warn of the unbearable atmosphere in a society where journalists are increasingly the target of both verbal and physical attacks. Journalism is a public good, and no one has the right to physically attack and insult people who are just doing their job.”
The attack by participants in the unreported protest on media representatives was also condemned by a government spokesman, the Minister of Culture and Media, and the President’s Office.