The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) on Sunday strongly condemned a physical attack on a reporter with the RTL Croatia commercial television channel during a demonstration in the northwestern Bosnian city of Banja Luka on Saturday.
"The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs condemns in the strongest terms the physical attack on RTL reporter and Croatian citizen Petar Panjkota, which occurred while he was covering a protest rally in Banja Luka on Saturday," it said in a statement.
Noting that "every attack on a journalist is an attack on freedom of speech and reporting," the MVEP called on the authorities in Banja Luka to identify and prosecute the assailant.
RTL stated on Saturday evening that their reporter Petar Panjkota had been slightly injured in a physical attack on him that occurred shortly after he reported live from a demonstration in Banja Luka. RTL strongly condemned the attack, describing it as an attack on freedom of reporting.
Two rival demonstrations were held in Banja Luka on Saturday, one organised by the opposition and the other by pro-government supporters.
After Panjkota finished his report, a person came out of a nearby cafe and punched him in the face, injuring him slightly. RTL said that the attack was presumably a reaction to Panjkota reporting that the son of indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic was attending the pro-government rally.
The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) also condemned the attack, saying that it was an unacceptable and dangerous attack on freedom of reporting. It called on the Bosnian Serb authorities to prosecute the attacker.