Office of the President
The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the Vienna-based International Press Institute, is deeply concerned about the security of journalists in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
SEEMO condemns the harassment of Veton Latifi, regular contributor to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting – Balkan Crisis Report, by the police in FYROM. Latifi, who also works for the Albanian-language programme of the Macedonian public television, was arrested at a police checkpoint on the road to Kumanovo on 9 June 2001. Police pointed guns at him, and he was threatened verbally. After about two hours, Latifi was released without explanation. Some of his computer disks were retained by the police.
This was the second time that Latifi has had trouble with the Macedonian authorities since the crisis erupted in the country. A month ago, police in Kumanovo arrested his father and detained him for one night without charges. In addition, SEEMO is informed about other disturbing incidents that journalists have experienced with the Macedonian authorities during past months. Most recently, Agence-France-Presse (AFP) correspondent Colin Neacsu and his interpreter, Lumni Murseli, were arrested on 8 June and beaten for several hours at a Skopje police station.
SEEMO urges Your Excellency to ensure that such actions do not reoccur and that all journalists working in Macedonia are allowed to carry out their profession without fear of harassment.
We thank you for your attention.