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"Blic" newspaper correspondent physically assaulted

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 6 October 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), strongly condemns the physical assault on Blic newspaper correspondent Gvozden Zdravic in Aleksandrovac, Serbia.

According to information received by SEEMO, on 30 September 2010, at around 10:00, Gvozden Zdravic was physically assaulted while on duty. Zdravic was photographing the local courthouse when the driver of the mayor of Aleksandrovac allegedly ran out of the courthouse and physically abused Zdravic by punching him several times in the head. Zdravic called the police, who arrived on the scene, and then went to hospital due to his head injuries.

Unfortunately this is not the first attack on Zdravic, who was first assaulted on 23 September 2010, at around 20:00, allegedly by a security guard from the local Aleksandrovac authorities while reporting on and photographing the opening day of a local event in the city centre. The second attack occurred on 25 September 2010, around noon, allegedly again by the same security guard, who identified himself as private security for the mayor of Aleksandrovac, at the entrance of the local high school, when Zdravic wanted to visit an agricultural exhibition.

Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, said: "SEEMO strongly condemns physical attacks on journalists and would like to remind the local authorities in Aleksandrovac that an open media environment, allowing for the free work of journalists, is a fundamental principle of any democratic society. SEEMO therefore hopes that the perpetrators of the attacks are swiftly brought to justice."

SEEMO strongly believes that journalists have an important duty to inform the public about activities in their local communities.

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