CROATIA: Croatian Journalists under Siege after Publishing Articles on 'Meat Affair'

CROATIA, CROATIA, 27/09/2010

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI) is alarmed at recent threats posed to journalists Sergej Trajkovic and Tomislav Kukec, who work for the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List.

According to information received by SEEMO, as of 28 August 2010 Trajkovic and Kukec began publishing a series of articles, after a thorough investigation using various sources, describing alleged irregularities in the Croatian meat industry (note: referred to as the "meat affair"), such as the selling of long-expired meat on the Croatian consumer market - something that threatens the health of citizens.

The articles have triggered angry reactions, including from meat processing companies and the Croatian government, all attacking the journalists and attempting to prevent them from publishing such critical articles - which they claim are based on false allegations.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic stated: "SEEMO would like to emphasize that the work of investigative journalists is a part of every democratic society and is especially important for a country applying for European Union membership." 

He added: "It is therefore alarming that critical articles like this should cause such reaction, including from certain individuals working for the Croatian authorities and trying to prevent journalists from doing their work properly. By threatening investigative journalists one is violating the laws on freedom of expression."

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