SERBIA: SEEMO Condemns Brutal Attack on Serbian Journalist

SERBIA, 26/07/2010

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), strongly condemns the brutal attack on journalist Teofil Pancic of the Serbian weekly Vreme.

According to information received by SEEMO, on the night of 24 July 2010, Pancic was attacked by two alleged perpetrators who beat him with metal bars as he sat in a packed public transportation bus in Zemun, Serbia. After the attack, the perpetrators fled the scene and remain at large. Pancic suffered a concussion and injuries on his right arm. 

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic commented: "SEEMO strongly condemns the physical attack on Pancic and regards the attack as a flagrant violation of press freedom."

"At present, the press freedom situation in Serbia remains alarming," Vujovic added. "It is very worrisome that brutal physical attacks on journalists, such as this, still occur in Serbia. It is very important not only to find the alleged perpetrators but to find out who is the master brain behind the attack."

"SEEMO urges the local police authorities to carry out a thorough investigation and calls on the Serbian Minister of Interior, Ivica Dacic, to step up his promise of protecting journalists from threats both verbal and physical."

SEEMO would like to remind Serbian authorities that there are still many unresolved cases of attacks on journalists stretching back to the 1990s, including the unsolved murder of journalists Dada Vujasinovic, Slavko Curuvija and Milan Pantic. Even bomb attacks in front of the apartment of Dejan Anastasijevic and the kidnapping case of Dusan Reljic, both who were also working for Vreme.

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