The South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South and East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), denounces the recent assault on journalist Piro Nase, in the town of Gjirokastra, in Albania.
According to information received by SEEMO, Piro Nase, the journalist who heads the regional branch of the Albanian Union of Journalists in Gjirokastra, was physically and verbally assaulted by two alleged perpetrators on the evening of 14 November 2010.
Nase, who works for the newspaper Panorama and for TV Planet, was assaulted right after parking his car near his place of residence. It is alleged that two unknown persons suddenly appeared and started hitting him, punching him in the head. His face and jaw were showing signs of bruising the next morning.
SEEMO is alarmed by the fact that threatening statements such as "Let's see if you will be more careful with what you write in that newspaper after tonight" allegedly accompanied the beating.
Commenting on the incident, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said: "SEEMO strongly condemns the physical assault on Nase and regards the attack as a blatant breach of press freedom. This was a criminal act which also constitutes an intolerable act of aggression against the fabric of society."
"The press freedom situation in Albania remains distressing; the repeated occurrences of vicious physical attacks on journalists, such as this one, are particularly troubling. It is of paramount importance that the competent authorities investigate this assault and find the alleged perpetrators."