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City of Pirot withdraws financial support for Serbian weekly "Pirotske Novine" after critical reporting

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 15 February 2010 - The Serbian town of Pirot has withdrawn already-agreed financial support for Serbian weekly Pirotske Novine, after the paper published a critical article on 12 February 2010 asking why the mayor of Pirot had bought a 60,000 Euro car in the midst of the economic crisis.

"SEEMO strongly condemns such action by the local authorities against critical media," said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. "The media is one of the key pillars of a democratic society. Journalists should therefore be able to express themselves freely and carry out their jobs without any interference by the local authorities."

Vujovic added: "SEEMO considers the withdrawal of the agreed financial support to Pirotske Novine a serious attack on press freedom in general and on the ability to carry out investigative reporting in particular. Putting the media under pressure will only encourage censorship."

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), fully supports the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS) in their call to resolve the dispute accordingly with Pirotske Novine.

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