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Police prevent reporters from photographing demonstration, confiscate cameras and other equipment

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

IPI/SEEMO Expresses Concern over Hostile Media Environment in Montenegro

Vienna, 1 October 2008

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is concerned about recent incidents concerning the media in Montenegro.

According to information before SEEMO, on 21 September, a demonstration by supporters of the Montenegrin and the Serbian Orthodox Churches in the region of Niksic was broken up by the police, who prevented reporters from taking photographs of the incident. The police also confiscated cameras and other equipment belonging to the journalists from the Belgrade-based newspaper Vecernje novosti and the Podgorica-based Vijesti and Republika.

The police later claimed it was not possible to identify the journalists in the crowd, although their press badges were clearly displayed. The confiscated equipment was later returned, although some pictures were erased from the cameras.

At the same event, Miodrag Baletic, a representative of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, verbally attacked a correspondent of the daily newspaper Dan, sources said.

Commenting on these incidents, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said, "It is intolerable that journalists are prevented from performing their professional duties." He went on to say that "this incident demonstrates that Montenegrin journalists continue to operate in an often hostile environment" and recalled the unsolved murder in 2004 of Dusan Jovanovic, publisher and editor-in-chief of Dan, as well as several other unsolved attacks against journalists during the past year.

For further information on the Jovanovic case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/59222