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Albania: Media Watchdog Denounces Attack On Journalist

Tirana, 17 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A regional media watchdog has asked Albanian authorities to investigate the alleged attack on an Albanian journalist and bring those responsible to justice The call was contained in a letter sent by the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organization to Prime Minister Fatos Nano.

Journalist Ilir Babaramo of the Vizion+ television station was allegedly attacked on 14 October by Public Order Minister Luan Rama and his bodyguards because of a critical comment Rama made two months ago.

Rama has denied striking Babaramo and dismissed the accusations as "media and political speculation." Both he and Babaramo have asked the public prosecutor to investigate. Nano has told Rama that he would be fired if the allegations are proven to be true.

A group of local journalists staged a protest in front of the Interior Ministry today to call for Rama's resignation.