4feb97: Journalists Attacked During Demonstrations

Amanda Onion (aonion@ccmail.cpj.org)
Tue, 04 Feb 97 16:02:10 EST

Feb. 4, 1997

His Excellency Slobodan Milosevic
President of Serbia
Belgrade, Serbia
Fax: +381-11-656-862

Your Excellency,

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to express its concern
about recent attacks on journalists who were covering demonstrations in

During opposition demonstration in Belgrade on Feb. 2, several journalists
were attacked. According to CNN's Belgrade bureau, police attacked their
camerawoman, Maria Fleet, and broke her camera (Fleet was not injured).
Sergei Karazei, a Ukrainian cameraman working for Reuters TV was beaten by
riot police officers and sustained injuries to his back, legs and head. His
camera was smashed. Karazei was treated at a clinic and released. BK Telecom
reporter Maja Vidakovic and cameraman Savo Ilic and their assistant, Vanja
Lazin, were also attacked and their camera was damaged. Reporters Sans
Frontiers further noted that Predrag Vujic, a reporter for the news agency
Beta and Marko Petrovic, a reporter for the independent daily, Blic, were
also beaten even after they presented police with their press cards. Police
hit Reiner Herscher, a German cameraman for APTV and pushed him to the
ground. Wielding clubs, police beat Rastko Kostic, a reporter for the
student media, and knocked out two of his teeth.

As a nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of our
colleagues around the world, CPJ condemns these brutal attacks on
journalists during the opposition demonstrations. The destruction of
journalists' equipment and the beatings of reporters are clearly attempts to
stifle press coverage of the demonstrations. CPJ urges you to stop the
sanctioning of any further attacks on journalists and ensure that they are
permitted to report and write freely.

Thank you for your attention and we welcome your comments.


William A. Orme, Jr
Executive Director


Ambassador Zoren Popovic
Ambassador Dragomir Djokic
Open Society Institute, Belgrade
UNPROFOR, Belgrade