The European Commission and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) urged Croatia on Friday to protect a crime reporter who was severely beaten, hospitalised and then threatened when he left hospital.
The Commission's Zagreb office condemned the attacks on Dusan Miljus, who was attacked with baseball bats in front of his home in early June, and said it would "continue to closely monitor developments".
"Furthermore, the Delegation encourages the relevant authorities to undertake all efforts to identify and prosecute those responsible for this, and other, attempts to stifle the free media," it said in a statement.
Miljus, a seasoned crime reporter of the Jutarnji List daily, had to be treated in hospital for concussion, a broken arm and facial injuries. He had uncovered a series of organised crime and corruption cases.
Miljus said this week he had received new threats after appearing in a popular talk show. Miljus's cousin was told by telephone he should "shut up or see other members of his family hurt", the daily said.
The Brussels-based EFJ said in a statement released by the Croatian Journalists' Association it was "concerned by the attack on media freedom and investigative journalism in a European Union candidate country".
It also called on the government to protect Miljus and his family.
Some 300 Croatian journalists demonstrated last month in Zagreb demanding a police crackdown on organised crime, violence and corruption.
The Jutarnji List said police had failed to find the perpetrators or those who commissioned the attack on Miljus despite one month of investigation.
"The latest threats sent to Miljus are just another indication that in Croatia, criminals are stronger than the state, police, investigators, courts and common sense," the daily said in a commentary this week.
The fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as reforms of the judiciary, public administration and economy, top the list of requirements Croatia must meet before joining the EU, possibly in 2011.
Last Mod: 11 Temmuz 2008, 16:44