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Adopted law on electronic communications a threat to freedom of expression, says IPI

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 8 July 2010 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is concerned about the recently-adopted Electronic Communications Law in Serbia.

According to information received by SEEMO, on 29 June 2010 the Serbian parliament adopted the new Electronic Communications Law which envisages the creation of a database on personal electronic communications of citizens and allows national security and police forces to view the contents without the need for prior permission.

Serbian President Boris Tadic signed the law despite warnings by critics that it was unconstitutional and a threat to freedom of expression, and could jeopardise the confidentiality of journalists' sources.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said: "Journalists in Serbia are particularly vulnerable to state efforts to access their personal data, especially in relation to attempts to identify their sources."

He added: "SEEMO understands that Serbia wants to improve its legal system and safety record, all of which is for a good cause. Nonetheless, protection of the confidentiality of sources is integral to a journalist's ability to uncover information which is of interest to the general public."

SEEMO supports the statement of the Journalists' Association of Serbia (UNS).

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