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Journalist Radoman Iric temporarily prevented from attending press conference

(ANEM/IFEX) - The following is a 5 March 2009 ANEM statement:

ANEM PROTESTS AGAINST THE INTERFERENCE FACED BY JOURNALIST RADOMAN IRIC FROM VRANJE

Belgrade, March 5, 2009 - The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) protests against the interference faced by Radoman Iric, correspondent of B92 (a member of ANEM) from Vranje, during the press conference about the signing of a contract on provision of equipment for the University Village in Belgrade.

On March 3, the minister of education, Zarko Obradovic, signed a contract in Vranje with "Simpo Line", a daughter company of Simpo, about the provision of equipment for the University Village with the value of more than 500 million dinars. The press conference on this subject was attended by the vice-president of the Government, Bozidar Djelic, and minister Obradovic.

The security staff of the Simpo Company at first did not allow Radoman Iric to attend the press conference. Only after the intervention of a member of the cabinet of the vice president of the Government, was Iric permitted to be present at the conference.

ANEM points out that state authorities have a special obligation to make public all information about their activities, under equal conditions, to all journalists and all media outlets. No one, including a private company, is allowed to abuse the right to privacy and selectively allow journalists to a press conference, limiting the free flow of ideas, information and opinions.

This incident is even more significant if we take into consideration that in this case the state is one of the parties to the contract, and that the public has the right to be informed about it. Therefore, the behavior of Simpo's security staff, which arbitrarily selected and allowed journalist to attend the press conference, is absolutely unacceptable.

ANEM Chairman, Sasa Mirkovic

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