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Journalist hit with hammer against head

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 11 February 2010 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemns the recent physical attack on 23-year-old journalist Dimitar Varbanov, from bTV program Master of Broadcasting in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria.

Varbanov has been working as a journalist for bTV for four years.

On 10 February 2010, Varbanov intended to have an interview with a construction entrepreneur after the bTV programme Master of Broadcasting received alerts from families living in Veliko Tarnovo who had contracts with the construction entrepreneur for new flats that they have never received even after payment was made. After the construction entrepreneur introduced himself as a common builder, he hit Varbanov with a hammer against the head.

After the hammer attack, Varbanov was directly taken to the local hospital. An ambulance and three police cars arrived soon after they got alerted by the cameraman. The alleged perpetrator was arrested and taken into police custody.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said, "SEEMO strongly condemns the physical attack on Varbanov."

"It is very alarming that journalists in Bulgaria seem to be threatened and attacked at a regular order and within a short time frame," Vujovic added. "SEEMO welcomes the quick reaction of the police who arrested the alleged perpetrator and SEEMO urges the Bulgarian authorities to do everything in their power to secure safe working conditions for journalists and to prevent such incidents from happening in the future."

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