(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has condemned the assassination attempt on Croatian press magnate Ninoslav Pavic and called on the government to do everything possible to arrest and try those responsible for the attack. Pavic is director and co-owner of Europa Press Holding (EPH), the country's biggest media group. He shares ownership of EPH with the German group Westdeutscher Allgemeine Zeitung. Some of the group's newspapers are currently investigating organised crime.
A bomb placed under Pavic's car exploded in the early hours of 1 March 2003, in front of his Zagreb home, causing extensive damage but no injuries. Police are assuring Pavic's protection, but so far have no leads on either the identity of those who planted the bomb or a possible motive for the attack.
"This attack appears to be an attempt to intimidate and silence journalists probing organised crime," RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard said in a letter to Interior Minister Sime Lucin. "We ask you not to rule this out in your investigation of the crime," Ménard urged.
Two EPH papers, the daily "Jutarnji list" and the weekly "Globus", regularly publish reports on organised crime. Three "Globus" journalists were targeted in 2002. Mark Cigol was physically attacked on 27 December, and Renata Ivanovic and Gordan Malic received threats from two major figures in the Croatian underworld.