SERBIA: Physical attack on a journalist in Serbia

SERBIA, 15/09/2005

To:

Vojislav Kostunica
Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia

Dragan Jocic
Minister of Interior of the Republic of Serbia
Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro 

 Your Excellency,

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 alarmed about the recent physical attack on a journalist in Serbia.

According to information before SEEMO, on 12 September, Vladimir Mitric, Loznica correspondent for the Belgrade daily Vecernje novosti, was beaten by an unknown assailant at the entrance of the building where he lives. The attacker hit Mitric with a hard object rolled in a cloth and escaped only after Mitric's neighbour appeared. Mitric was taken to hospital for medical treatment.

SEEMO regards this physical attack as a flagrant violation of press freedom. We ask Your Excellencies to ensure an immediate investigation into this case and to take all necessary legal steps to find the perpetrators.

We would like to remind Your Excellencies that only four years ago another local correspondent of Vecernje novosti, Milan Pantic from Jagodina, was killed and his murderers have still not been found. Also, the 1999 murder of journalist Slavko Curuvija has not yet been solved.

At present, the press freedom situation in Serbia is alarming. The number of attacks on journalists has increased in the past months, including threats

against the staff of the broadcaster RTV B92 and the daily newspaper Danas. SEEMO would also like to stress that a safe working environment for

journalists, without any pressure, is a fundamental principle in every democratic society.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic

SEEMO Secretary General

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