December 19, 2005


Vienna, 19/12/2005

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 the recent attack on a journalist in Albania.

According to information before SEEMO, on 11 December, at around 2 a.m., Engjell Serjani, director of Dita Jug newspaper and correspondent for Gazeta Shqiptare, was attacked and beaten up by two unknown persons in the city of Gjirokastra. Serjani was leaving a bar next to his office in order to go home, when two persons stopped him and started hitting him until he lost consciousness. Later, Serjani recovered consciousness and was able to go to a hospital to have his injuries treated. The two perpetrators managed to escape.

Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, condemned this attack on the journalist, “Physical attacks on journalists are both unacceptable and alarming. Journalists must be able to report without fear of harassment and intimidation. This case is very worrying because this is not the first time that a journalist in Albania was physically attacked. This and other acts of violence against journalists are obviously aimed at intimidating the work of journalists.” Vujovic added, “SEEMO takes every physical attack on a journalist in a country of transition very seriously. Particularly because in previous years in South East Europe, several journalists have been killed due to their professional work.”

SEEMO believes that a safe working environment for journalists is a fundamental principle of any democratic society. We urge the Albanian authorities to investigate this case immediately and to take all necessary action against the responsible persons.