The Beta News Agency is asking the authorities and particularly Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and Police Director Vladimir Rebic to immediately and swiftly investigate the circumstances under which one of our journalists and cameramen were beaten while reporting on protests in Belgrade in the night between July 8-9 and will also seek an explaination of why police attacked other reporters.
BETA reporter Zikica Stevanovic and cameramen Luka Predja and Relja Pekic were surrounded late on July 8 by police and attacked despite clearly identifying themselves as journalists. Stevanovic received strong blows to the brow which provoked bleeding and spent most of the night in the emergency room where his wounds were treated while our cameramen were beaten by police with nightsticks and received blows to the body.
Like other BETA journalists, our colleagues Stevanovic, Predja and Pekic acted strictly as professionals. The attack on Stevanovic happened in front of the School of Law. He was beaten and forced to the ground. Several minutes later, after demonstrators were chased off, one of the police officers returned and hit him with his nightstick as he lay on the ground.
During all of this Stevanovic waved his journalistic ID card in front of the officers but to no avail. Clearly this unprovoked attack on BETA's journalists is a case of excessive force and its unnecessary use.
BETA intends to report the case to all domestic and foreign organizations that deal in media freedoms and the protection of journalists, and, after consulting attorneys, it will file a lawsuit.