Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the South East Europe Media Organisation
(SEEMO) and WAZ Media Group today jointly condemned the attack on Albanian
journalist Mero Baze yesterday evening in Tirana.
"This is a brutal and vicious attack on a
professional journalist that demands a thorough and independent investigation to
punish the perpetrators", declared IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "The evidence
strongly suggests he has been assaulted for his work. Those who committed and
ordered this crime need to be brought to justice. Failure would sustain the culture
of impunity that forces journalists to live and work in fear and destroys
democratic fabric of the country".
According to our information, Mero
Baze was attacked by the bodyguards of businessman Bezart Taci as he was
leaving a pub in downtown Tirana yesterday evening. The bodyguards beat up Baze
for several minutes before leaving. Baze had to be helped to be transferred to
the hospital. The police arrested two men after the attack and are still
looking for Mr Taci. Today the Albanian authorities also condemned the attacks.
is the editor of the daily Tema and currently contributes to the Factor
Plus programme broadcast by Vizion Plus TV channel of which the WAZ
Media Group owns a share. It is not the first time that Baze has been targeted.
His paper Tema was expelled from its office last January and he has been
threatened several times in the past.
This attack comes on the eve of the third South
East Europe Media Forum to take place in Tirana from the 4 - 6 of November,
where high-ranking media representatives from the South East European region
will debate the challenges facing the media industry and present for the first
"WAZ-IFJ Prize for Courage in Journalism".
Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General,
condemned also these attacks "Physical attacks on journalists are both
unacceptable and alarming, and indeed we welcome the condemnation of this act by Albanian autorities.
Journalists must be able to report without fear of harassment and intimidation.
This case is very worrying because this is not the first time that a journalist
was physically attacked, and also not the first time, that this was done
by bodyguards. This act of violence is obviously aimed at intimidating
the work of journalists and investigative reporters in Albania".
The WAZ Media Group stands in full solidarity
with the condemnations of the two professional groups and calls on the media
for comprehensive reporting on this case.
For more information contact the IFJ/EFJ at
+32 2 235 2200
The IFJ represents
over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide. Its European group, the EFJ, represents over 250,000 in 30 European countries.
SEEMO, an affiliate of theInternational
Press Institute (IPI), is
a regional non-governmental, non-profit networkof editors, media executives and leading journalists from
newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations, news agencies and new media in
South East Europe.
The WAZ Media Group, based in Essen, is one of the largest European media
groups. It is active in Germany,
Austria, Croatia, Serbia,
Macedonia, Bulgaria, Rumania,
Hungary and Russia, and has