The South and 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) is alarmed by the attack on daily Lajm reporter Fatos Shala by a security guard working for a supermarket in Kosovo.
Shala reported that he was taking pictures at the supermarket on 21 March 2011 for an article, when he was suddenly grabbed by a security guard and dragged across the floor. “The experience was very discomforting, since everyone at the supermarket thought I was some kind of thief” stated Shala.
Afterwards, Shala was allegedly dragged into an office where he was threatened with an iron club and told that if he did not delete the pictures he would be beaten. Fortunately, Shala did not suffer any serious physical injury but his camera was broken.
“The guard should have warned Shala beforehand, and told him that it was prohibited to take pictures within the supermarket. His actions and aggressive behaviour are completely unjustified. The security guard had no authority whatsoever to take such measures and especially not to make threats against the reporter,” stated SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic upon learning about the case.
“The security guard could have voiced his complaint through a range of different non-physical ways, which would have been legitimate. If he thought that he could not solve the problem by himself, he could have called police officers, but he should not have made threats against the journalist,” added Vujovic.
SEEMO calls on the authorities in Pristina to investigate the case, and to do whatever they can to prevent such cases from occurring in the future.