May 12, 2004


Vienna, 12/05/2004


His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle

Hieromonk Irinej Dobrijevic

Consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops on International and Interchurch Affairs and Editor-in-Charge of the Information Service Serbian Orthodox Church

Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro

Your Holiness,

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), strongly condemns the treatment of a journalist working for the Belgrade daily, Danas.

According to information before SEEMO, on 7 May 2004, Jelena Tasic, a reporter for Danas wished to cover the celebrations of “200 Years of the Modern Serbian State”, organised by the Serbian Orthodox Church. Tasic asked for accreditation and after calling the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church, was informed that the accreditation was ready. But when she arrived at the press conference and took a seat in the conference room, a person from the security approached her and requested her to leave the premises because she did not have the accreditation. He did not check whether she had the document, but just told her that she had to leave because those were the orders he got from the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

SEEMO was informed that Danas issued a public statement about this case, that was published in several media in Serbia on 8 May, but did not receive any reaction from the Church.

SEEMO condemns the treatment of Jelena Tasic and Danas. We remind you that all media should be treated equally and that the Church, with its important public role, needs to be open to all media.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic

SEEMO Secretary General