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Cameraman assaulted, journalist rushed to hospital amid growing concerns over current media environment

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 21 January 2009 press release by the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI affiliate:

Vienna, 21 January 2009

IPI/SEEMO alarmed by continuous brutal assaults on several journalists in Kosovo

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned about the current media environment in Kosovo, marked by a recent string of brutal attacks against journalists and other press freedom violations.

According to information received by SEEMO on 8 January, several journalists working for Most TV were attacked by a crowd as they were on the site of a bomb blast in Bosnjacka Mahala/Mitrovica, which had seriously injured six fire-fighters. Mirjana Nedeljkovic, a news reporter for TV Most, was rushed to the intensive care unit at Mitrovica hospital. Her cameraman, Dejan Tanasijevic, was beaten and his camera broken.

SEEMO has monitored with concern the growing number of assaults against journalists in Kosovo.

Speaking about the situation, Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, said, "SEEMO strongly condemns all threats against journalists as they are a violation of the right to freedom of expression. I therefore urge an immediate and thorough investigation into these incidents and call on the authorities to express their commitment to the safety of journalists, and the protection of press freedom in general. By doing so, the authorities will demonstrate their desire to ensure a free media environment, which is a vital aspect of a democratic society.

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