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IPI condemns physical attack on TV Tutin crew

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 30 September 2011 - The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute, condemns an attack on a TV Tutin crew and urges Serbia's authorities to protect journalists, especially in local communities. Tutin is a small town in Sandzak, a region in southwest Serbia with a strong Bosniak ethnic minority. TV Tutin is a local public service.

On 27 September 2011, a two-member TV crew was filming construction of a local cultural centre when four individuals approached and started beating them. A doctor examined the injuries of both the journalist and the cameraman. Neither was hospitalized. After beating the journalists, the four individuals went to a nearby café. The police reacted several hours later, when TV Tutin's editor-in-chief threatened to call Serbia's Minister of Interior in Belgrade.

SEEMO recalls that Sandzak is a politically divided society, especially among the Bosniak population. In recent years, some religious figures have been struggling for political influence and have used incendiary speeches to transmit their messages. In some cases, these messages border on hate speech.

"SEEMO urges the authorities in Serbia to protect journalists," said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. "They are particularly vulnerable in smaller towns where political pressure is more direct and people know each other. We hope that the police in Tutin and Sandzak will not allow another attack against journalists."

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