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SEEMO deeply concerned as two journalists assaulted, video footage seized

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 2 October 2007 letter by the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI affiliate, to Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski, Assembly President Ljubisha Georgievski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski:

H.E. Branko Crvenkovski
President of the Republic of Macedonia
Skopje, Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
Fax: +389 2 3112 147

H.E. Ljubisha Georgievski
President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia
Skopje, Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
Fax: +389 2 3113 643

H.E. Nikola Gruevski
Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia
Skopje, Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
Fax: +389 2 3112 561

Ms. Gordana Jankuloska
Minister of Interior of the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

Vienna, 2 October 2007

Your Excellencies,

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), is deeply concerned about recent physical attacks by security and police forces on journalists in Macedonia.

On 25 September 2007, after a debate in parliament over electoral reform, Lirim Dullovi, a reporter for the private TV station A1, was assaulted by a person with the initials B.A, a security guard of the ethnic Albanian party Democratic Union for Integration (DUI).

One day after this incident, Igor Ljubovcevski, a camera crew member of the private TV station ALSAT-M, was physically attacked and injured by the Macedonian police. The incident happened in the town of Tetovo after Ljubovcevski refused to hand over his video footage to the police.

During these two days camera crew members for several other TV stations were also forced to hand over their video material to the police.

SEEMO supports the initiative of those Macedonian journalists who boycotted the government press conference on 27 September out of protest against the physical attacks on their colleagues. SEEMO also welcomes the police warrant issued against B.A. for assault and battery charges in the Dullovi case and urges the authorities to investigate the police attack on Ljubovcevski.

SEEMO strongly condemns physical attacks on journalists and would like to remind Your Excellencies that an open media environment, allowing for the free work of media representatives, is a fundamental principle of any democratic society. Violence and threats, as well as other pressures on journalists, have no place in a democratic society.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic
SEEMO Secretary General

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