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Hardline nationalist groups storm news agency's Belgrade office

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 4 September 2008 press release by the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI affiliate:

Vienna, 4 September 2008

IPI/SEEMO concerned about actions directed against Serbian media outlet by hard-line nationalist movements

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 deeply concerned about actions directed against the media in Serbia by members of the hard-line nationalist movements "Obraz" and "1389".

According to information provided to SEEMO, members of "Obraz" and "1389", wielding a placard that read, "Zuta novinska agencija Beta" ("Yellow News Agency Beta"), forced their way into the offices of the Beta news agency in central Belgrade on 30 August and demanded the coverage of their ongoing protests against the arrest on 21 July of Radovan Karazdic, the Bosnian Serb wartime leader.

Commenting on the incident, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said, "SEEMO condemns these aggressive actions taken against the independent news agency Beta. There are other, more peaceful, ways of ensuring that one's voice is heard by a media outlet." He went on to urge the authorities "to take all possible measures to ensure the safety of media practitioners in Serbia."

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