On 14-15 October 2000, representatives of 23 media in South Eastern Europe agreed to form the umbrella organisation, South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), at a meeting in Zagreb, Croatia.
As agreed, SEEMO, will work "to protect and further freedom of the press and improve the standards and practises of journalism in South, Central and East Europe." The new organisation will work towards these goals by "providing a platform for debates on relevant regional issues; informing journalists and editors in the region about on-going activities in the media field; developing exchange programmes; looking for areas of cooperation between local journalist organisations; and serving as a link to international press freedom organisations." SEEMO became temporarily part of the International Press Institute (IPI) in Vienna, but worked from beginning with a own budget and also on own projects independent of IPI.
The founders decided that Oliver Vujovic, who initiated the meeting, as also founding of the organisation, should be responsible for the work of the organisation as Secretary General.
Johann Fritz, Director of the International Press Institute, welcomed the new organisation and said, "Press freedom can best be achieved when local journalists and editors join in the fight. It is a process that should begin at the grass-roots level; international organisations can support it, but not impose it from above."
"Believing that media pluralism and press freedom form the basis of any democracy, SEEMO shall be made up of editors and journalists from the region dedicated to improving the climate for freedom of expression and press freedom," said IPI Chairman Dr. Hugo Bütler, Editor-in-Chief of the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung.