CROATIA: Death threats against journalists - Croatia

CROATIA, CROATIA, 10/05/2006, 09:50

To:

Ivo Sanader

Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia

Ivica Kirin

Minister of Interior Affairs of the Republic of Croatia

Zagreb, Croatia  

Your Excellencies,

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned about recent death threats against Croatian journalists.

According to information before SEEMO, on 9 May 2006, Drago Hedl, the editor of the Croatian weekly, Feral Tribune, received a death threat. Hedl said the threat was directed at him because of a series of articles he published in the weekly on the torture and killings of Serbian civilians in Osijek. This is not the first time that Hedl has received death threats, and SEEMO issued a letter of concern on the subject in December 2005. On this occasion the threat allegedly came from a local politician.

We would also like to bring to your attention the case of Slobodna Dalmacija journalist, Sasa Jadrijevic Tomas, who reported a death threat to the police at the beginning of May from a retired Croatian officer. The threat came after Jadrijevic alleged that the officer was illegally using army draftees to work on his construction site.

SEEMO is deeply concerned about the re-occurrence of threats against journalists and kindly asks your Excellency to do everything in your power to urgently investigate these cases, and to take all necessary steps to protect their lives. It is very alarming that threats against journalists in Croatia are increasing.

We would like to remind Your Excellencies that a safe working environment for journalists is a fundamental principle of every democratic society. It is also in the interest of democratic development in Croatia that journalists are allowed to investigate stories free of any pressure.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic

SEEMO Secretary General

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