Croatia: Car Bomb Assassination of Journalists Ivo Pukanić & Niko Franjić

Zagreb, Croatia's capital, was stunned by a car bomb attack directed at the editor-in-chief and publisher of Croatian political weekly Nacional, Ivo Pukanić, which killed both him and fellow journalist Niko Franjić on Thursday.

Arhangel summed it up (HRV) in detail:

…tonight around 18:20 pm in Palmotić street in Zagreb in the courtyard of “Nacional” an explosive device killed Ivo Pukanić, chief executive NCL, and Niko Franjić, his colleague. As I was first informed of the news, a remote control detonated the explosive device under Pukanić's Lexus. Croatia is in shock.

Price iz Becke sume concurs (HRV) the current sentiment:

I can not believe, still one mafioso murder in the middle of town, in the middle of the day! Ivo Pukanic killed and a journalist colleague from Nacional. Horror!

And Funky Business wrote (HRV) about the situation on the ground in the center of Zagreb, a city of 1 million people:

…central Zagreb was blocked. On the streets of the capital of the government there is fear, disbelief and panic among citizens. It is recommended to restrict movement for all citizens of the city center due to blockade of police who are trying to blockade a large circle around the town to close a crime that evidence would not be destroyed.

As the head of Croatian newspaper, Nacional, many saw Pukanić as a marked man. Ivo himself believed that there was an assassination plot against him, but others doubted it. Sadly, they were wrong, as noted (HRV) by Denis Avdagić on his blog:

…clearly, and to all who doubted that the previous assassination attempt on Pukanić – were completely wrong!

The Upper Town of Zagreb, Croatia. From, Hudin

Zagreb, which has been steadily building itself to be a proper European capital in recent years, has suddenly felt the confidence of its citizens erode with this and other recent events of brutal violence. ViN writes (HRV) more:

Is it time for the mass but little severe protests? Can the police stop all this? Can I help a recent shift in the ministries of Interior and Justice? I doubt it. Can the people change it? Because I believe that today is not easy to be a resident of Zagreb. This will not only stop so easily.

Needless to say, this event will evolve over the coming days as more details become available. Only then will it be possible to place blame and understand what this recent attack truly means to security and free media in Croatia as it gets ready to begin EU accession talks next year.


  • These are really terrible news. The murder of a journalist that works for the independent media is always bad news for a country, and for the free-speech around the world.
    But could someone explain more about the Nacional and its role in the actual Croatian scene? Who might be annoyed by it, and by the work of Ivo. Whose toes have been stepped in the recent times by the newspaper and his chief-editor?


  • The newspaper scene in Croatia is a bit of a free for all. Papers will general level baseless attacks at one another and various political figures. Sometimes what they say turns out to be turn. Other times it turns out to be forgotten.
    In the case of Ivo, he has suffered a rather relentless campaign against him for his career. He has been accused of being in the mafia himself as being paid off by various people. He had managed to continue to publish his paper despite this and the fact that Jutarnji List had become the #1 paper in Croatia.
    As to who might be behind the killing, it’s hard to say. Ivo had made a great number of enemies over the years. It could also just be part of the escalating violence in the city where he was a popular target to hit.
    Assuming that the police (who have done little in these recent matters) pull together any sort of story, I’m guessing that we’ll hear more about this in the next week or so.

  • Thank you very much for the contextualization, Miquel. I’m planning to append it to the Portuguese language article, so the Portuguese speaking readers, that usually don’t know a lot about the Croatian scene, will have some more context into which they can fit the news you brought.

    Thank you very much, again.


  • […] Hudin Balsa complementa o artigo com uma contextualização [En] a respeito do que anda acontecendo na Croácia: The newspaper scene in Croatia is a bit of a […]

  • It is incredible how complicated things get in places “in transition”urban violence and also the impact on survivors of an armed conflict.
    All my solidarity from here.

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