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IPI strongly condemns police raid on premises of BN Television in Bijeljina

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 23 January 2010 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), strongly condemns the police raid on BN Television in Bijeljina, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Bosnia-Herzegovina journalists' association, BH Novinari, and the Sarajevo-based Linija za pomoc novinara (Free Media Help Line) have also expressed concern about the matter.

According to information received, the police raided the premises of BN Television early on the morning of 13 January, 2010, when the morning program was about to be broadcast. Because of the police raid, which was based on an assumption of grounds related to tax payment, and on an anonymous phone call, the morning program was interrupted. After four hours, regular broadcasting began again.

SEEMO Secretary-General Oliver Vujovic said: "SEEMO strongly condemns the sudden interruption of the morning program caused by the police raid, causing trouble for the media employees of BN Television. The police could have handled the situation in another way instead of blocking the morning program, by going through the papers without blocking the broadcasting. After all, the media employees of the broadcaster have nothing to do with the tax papers themselves and so the blocking of the morning program is considered an attempt to influence the media and public information."

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