KOSOVO: SEEMO Strongly Condemns Attacks against Journalists in Northern Kosovo

KOSOVO, 28/07/2011

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), strongly condemns the latest wave of violence against journalists in Northern Kosovo.

Three journalists were beaten during the latest incidents which occurred on the Serbia-Kosovo border-crossing in Jarinje. One was seriously injured with head injuries.

On 27 July 2011, a Belgrade-based Tanjug agency film crew was attacked by a local mob near the village of Leposavic, in Northern Kosovo. The cameraman was beaten by local residents. His camera was snatched and was used to hit him on the head. He suffered serious head injuries. Another crew member was also beaten but his injuries were less severe. The Tanjug journalist, the only member of the team to escape beating, managed to take his colleagues to a nearby hospital.

The Tanjug film crew was covering incidents on the Jarinje border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia. On 25 July 2011 Kosovo police took over the border installations and Serb forces retaliated. On 27 July 2011, Serbian extremists, according to the official Belgrade explanation, set fire to, and bulldozed, border installations.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Serbia does not recognize its independence.

In a separate incident, the Association of Professional Journalists in Kosovo reported that Bojan Bozivic, working for Albanian TV Klan was also beaten and his camera was broken in Northern Kosovo.

I strongly condemn physical violence against journalists and call on the authorities to find and sanction the perpetrators. Even in crisis situations, journalists have to be protected,” said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

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