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Serbian journalists targeted at polling place

SEEMO expresses concern after police say they cannot guarantee safety

VIENNA, 17 December 2013 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), today expressed concerned about threats that prevented journalists in Serbia from reporting on local elections.

Local sources told SEEMO that individuals in Backi Gracac, in the country’s north, tried to attack Biljana Gavric and Lazar Vukadinovic from Belgrade’s Prva TV, and Jovana Stetin and Dejan Goljevac from Belgrade broadcaster B92, outside a polling place on 15 December where the journalists were covering a suspension in voting due to a reported fight between political party activists.

Police protected the journalists from the would-be attackers, but then reportedly advised the journalists to leave, telling them that their safety could not be guaranteed.

“We are worried that Serbian police advised the journalists to leave and that the police did not have the capacity to ensure that the journalists could do their job safely, free from pressure,” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said. “We also find it alarming that the attackers apparently wanted to prevent the journalists from reporting at a polling place.”

SEEMO strongly condemns all forms of threats and attacks against journalists and the group called on Serbian police and prosecutors to conduct a full, swift and transparent investigation.

ENDS

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