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

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Croatia, Breaking News, Freedom of Speech, Media & Journalism

Zagreb [1], 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 [2], which killed both him and fellow journalist Niko Franjić on Thursday.

Arhangel summed it up [3] (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 [4] (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 [5] (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 [6], 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 [7] (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 [8]

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 [9] (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.