The South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South, East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned about the physical assault on Lumturie Blakaj, journalist working for the daily newspaper Zeri, in Kosovo.
According to Blakaj, she was attacked on 20 December 2010 by an unknown perpetrator in front of the UNMIK building in Pristina. The attacker started punching Blakaj furiously in the back and proceeded by dragging her seven meters along the ground. The moment the perpetrator started punching Blakaj, three young men who witnessed the assault helped her and the perpetrator ran away.
Blakaj immediately reported the assault to the police, claiming that she did not recognize the perpetrator and has no information as to why he attacked her so viciously.
The next day, police spokesman Baki Kelani said the police have launched investigations.
“SEEMO strongly condemns all physical attacks on journalists, which have no place in a democratic society. Physical attacks such as this must be stopped from occurring in the future,” said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.
“SEEMO welcomes the police investigation and calls for a full investigation into finding out not only who attacked the journalist, but also the reason behind the attack,” added Vujovic.
SEEMO also notes with unease this increasing tendency of assaults against journalists in Kosovo. It calls on the Pristina authorities to state their dedication to the protection of journalists, and press freedom in general, by taking active steps to counteract these alarming developments.