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SEEMO - Founded 2000 - Defending Press Freedom in South, East and Central Europe


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Press freedom 2012

SEEMO Welcomes Presidential Pardon in Serbia for Imprisoned Author of Reader’s Comment
Vienna, 7 August 2012

The Vienna-based South European Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), welcomes the presidential pardon for Laszlo Szasz, the author of a reader’s comment, who was imprisoned because he could not pay a fine for offending a political activist. Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic pardoned Laszlo Szasz, as requested by all major journalists’ associations in Serbia, and SEEMO, and said that he had signed the pardon because he believed in freedom of expression as a fundamental right and because nobody should serve a 150-day prison sentence for publishing their opinion.

On 24 April, 2007,  Laszlo Szasz, an occasional contributor to Hungarian-language print media in Vojvodina (Serbia), published a commentary in the readers’ section of the Novi Sad-based daily Magyar Szo.  Szasz criticised Laszlo Toroczkai, leader of the 64 Counties Youth Movement in Hungary, an advocate of revision of the 1920 Trianon Treaty, which defined the current borders of the Hungarian state.  Toroczkai sued Szasz for insult. The court in Subotica, Vojvodina (Serbia) declared Szasz guilty of insult according to Article 170 of the Penal Code and fined him 150,000 Dinars (approximately 1,400 Euros).  Unable to pay the fine, 69-old Szasz served a prison sentence from 20 July, 2012 to 3 August, 2012, the day he was released under the presidential pardon.

“I welcome the presidential pardon. It marks a good beginning for the new government in Serbia and its respect for press freedom,” said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic.

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The South East Europe Media Organisation * Südosteuropäische Medienorganisation * Медијска организација Југоисточне Европе * Medijska organizacija Jugoistočne Europe
Medijska organizacija Jugoistočne Evrope * Organizata mediale e Evropës Juglindore * Medijska organizacija za Jugovzhodno Evropo
Медиумската организација на југоисточна Европа * Organizzazione dei Media del Sud-Est Europa *
l’Organisation des médias du Sud Est de l’Europe
Délkelet-európai Médiaszervezet * Organizácia médií juhovýchodnej Európy * Organizace medií jihovýchodní Evropy * Kaakkois-Euroopan maiden mediajarjesto
Медийна организация за югоизточна Европа * Media Organisatie voor Zuid Oost Europa * Organización de Medios de Comunicación del Sureste Europeo
Dimosiografikos Organismos Notioanatolikis Evropis (Δημοσιογραφικός Οργανισμός Νοτιοανατολικής Ευρώπης) * Медиа Организация Юго-Восточной Европы
Медiа Органiзацiя Пiвденно-Схiдно Європи * Organizacja Medii Poludniowo-Wschodniej Europy * Cənubi-Şərqi Avropa üzrə Media Təşkilatının
Den sydøsteuropæiske medieorganisation * ארגון המדיה הדרום-מזרח אירופי * दक्षिण पूर्वी यूरोप मीडिया संगठन * Güneydoğu Avrupa Medya Örgütü
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