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SEEMO urges Serbian authorities to investigate attacks

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SEEMO/IPI Press Release: SEEMO urges Serbian authorities to investigate attacks against journalists

VIENNA, 2 November, 2012 – Serbian journalists and their families have been targeted in three attacks using explosive devices in less than two weeks.

Following an incident on 30 October, 2012, the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), said it had observed an escalation of attacks against journalists in Serbia.

In the latest episode, someone placed an explosive device, which did not explode, near the family house of Tanja Jankovic, a journalist with TV B92, in Vranje, in southern Serbia. A little more than a month earlier, Jankovic and members of her family were involved in a brawl with other guests at a wedding. Jankovic was hit in the head. Other family members were injured. It is still not clear if the brawl - a police inspector was among the guests - was related to Jankovic’s work as an investigative journalist or was motivated by other reasons. According to Jankovic, only her phone call to Ivica Dacic, Serbia’s prime minister and minister of the interior, prevented a bloodbath.

On 23 October, someone launched a Molotov cocktail at the terrace of Biljana Vujovic, a presenter with TV Kopernikus, at approximately at 3:30. Vujovic, who was awake at the time, was able to react quickly and to extinguish a fire that started spreading.

One week earlier, on the evening of 16 October 2012, someone threw a Molotov cocktail at the house of Damir Dragic, director of the Belgrade-based tabloid daily Informer. Although no one was injured, the family car was gutted by fire.

The reasons for the three attacks remained unclear today and SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic called on authorities to examine whether the journalists were targeted due to their work.

“I urge the prime minister and minister of the interior, Ivica Dacic, to order an investigation into these and all other outstanding cases of attacks against journalists,” Vujovic said. “It is frankly worrying that journalists lately seem to be the targets of explosive devices on a weekly basis. I do hope that he takes these attacks seriously.”

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