Authorities of the Republika Srpska (RS), Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, are absolutely not behind the attack on the BN Television's (BN TV) Vladimir Kovacevic, RS President Milorad Dodik said on Monday following the visit to the attacked reporter.
Kovacevic was physically assaulted Sunday night in the northwestern Bosnia's city of Banja Luka by two still unidentified men, who beat him with expandable batons. Kovacevic was hospitalized for the treatment of the injuries he suffered during the attack.
“I condemn the attack, it is absolutely worth every condemnation, I demanded and I still demand from the police to take all possible measures,” said Dodik after the visit the injured reporter.
“I called him beforehand and asked if he is fine with me visiting him, he said 'yes' and I did so. During that talk, I said I absolutely rejected any possibility of the authorities standing behind that,” underlined Dodik.
The RS president offered a police protection to Kovacevic.
“If he decides to accept it, we will establish a protection. It's not true that there is an atmosphere of the lynch. Some maybe want that, but I reject it, you are the witnesses it is not like that,” Dodik told media after the visit.
“I express my regret, we all should do something to make the society more stable,” Dodik said.
Chief of the BN TV's office in Banja Luka, Zeljko Rajic, said earlier on Monday the investigation on the site that the police conducted was not “thorough, like the many before.”
“We will launch all mechanisms of the legal protection, and we will work on what's basically our job, we will deal with this case. As for the RS police, which came to the site of the accident, we are not happy with what has been done. (…) What happened the last night is a message to the reporters in the RS and the whole media community, especially the BNTV's reporters,” Rajic warned.
According to him, journalists are exposed to threats and pressures and this attack will be treated as a “serious attack.”
Chairman of Bosnia's association 'BH Journalists', Marko Divkovic, assessed the accident as the “attempted murder” warning that over 40 attacks on journalists were registered this year.
“I'm afraid this is not the end, the election is approaching and the many will be disturbed,” Divkovic said.
Dodik responded to the allegations about the number of attacks.
“I don't know what's treated as an attack on journalists. If this what happened to your colleague was that, then it was the only case in the RS but the other attacks took place on different territory,” Dodik said.
Chairman of the Journalists Association of Banja Luka, Sinisa Vukelic, urged the police to react and find the perpetrators.
“I think that the end of the week is a realistic deadline for them to come out with some specific information and tell us what they did on this case. The line has been crossed and we will not tolerate such behaviour anymore,” Vukelic said.
'BH Journalists' chairman called on all media outlets in the country to convey a joint message on Tuesday and to condemn the attack in their own way.
Kovacevic was attacked in front of the building where he lives. He described it as a sudden attack by two unknown persons who, after beating him, left in a car.