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Television reporter, cameraman threatened against covering illegal construction story

(ANEM/IFEX) - The following is a 20 June 2008 ANEM press release:

ANEM CONDEMNS THE ATTACK ON RTV JEDINSTVO JOURNALIST FROM NOVI PAZAR, B92 CORRESPONDENT IVANA MILIC AND CAMERAMAN EDIS KLIMENTA

Belgrade, June 20, 2008 - The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) condemns the 19 June threatening and intimidation of correspondent Ivana Milic and cameraman Edis Klimenta of the television station RTV Jedinstvo in Novi Pazar.

On the morning of 19 June, Milic, who was investigating cases of illegal construction in Novi Pazar, was interviewing a citizen who claimed that he was unable to prevent the construction of an illegal building on his private property. Two individuals suddenly assailed the journalist, the cameraman and the interviewee on the street in the center of Novi Pazar, insulting and threatening them. The assailants threatened to cut the throats of the journalists if the report was broadcast on television.

ANEM commends the swift reaction of the police who arrested the assailants, and insists that they be tried and convicted for their outrageous threats against the journalists. ANEM points out that numerous unpunished attacks against journalists have led to the offenders feeling safe to issue death threats in broad daylight, in public places and in front of many witnesses, which demonstrates how adverse the conditions have become for journalists - especially investigative journalists - in Serbia.

The realization of the main purpose of the media in a democratic society is impossible if journalists receive death threats while doing investigative work and collecting information of public interest. ANEM demands that the authorities guarantee the security of Milic, Klimenta and others exposed to threats because of their work, and that they take adequate measures to allow journalists and the media in Serbia to inform the public without being subject to pressure and fear for their safety.

ANEM is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organisation, a network of over 100 independent media outlets throughout Serbia, dedicated to promotion and protection of media freedoms and strengthening of the position of professional broadcast media.

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