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Journalist petitions authorities for protection, an end to ongoing harassment by intelligence agency

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a press release by the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI affiliate:

SEEMO Supports Civil Petition by Croatian Journalist Zeljko Peratovic

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), joins the Croatian Journalists Association in its support for Zeljko Peratovic, freelance journalist and blogger, in his civil petition, submitted on 14 March 2008 to the Committee for Internal Politics and National Security and the Council for Civil Supervision of Intelligence Agencies in Croatia. In the petition, Peratovic is asking the authorities to protect his professional rights and freedoms and to cease the pressure to which the Security Intelligence Agency has exposed him to over the past few years.

Zeljko Peratovic was imprisoned on 17 October 2007. He was later released after spending 20 hours in police custody. SEEMO reacted to this case on 6 November 2007 with a protest to Croatian officials. According to the authorities in Zagreb at the time, Peratovic had allegedly published state secrets on his blog. The police confiscated his equipment and materials including three PCs.

SEEMO Secretary General, Oliver Vujovic, said: "Journalists should have the freedom to express themselves and do their job without pressure from State authorities, regardless of the media they work in. Freedom of expression is not only guaranteed by law, but is also the foundation for the democratic development of society. Journalists play an important role in any society by holding others accountable for their actions, and it makes no difference if they carry out this job using new media, such as blogs, or work in the traditional forms."

SEEMO is a regional network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe.

Updates the Peratovic case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/87484 and http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/64650

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