ANEM WEEKLY REPORT ON MEDIA REPRESSION IN SERBIA
DECEMBER 2 DECEMBER 8, 2000.
DOS APPOINTS HEADS OF STATE MEDIA
BELGRADE, December 2, 2000 The Democratic Opposition of
Serbia yesterday named heads of media organisations under the jurisdiction of
the federal government.
Svetlana Stojanovic is to be president of the Tanjug’s
board of management and the editor in chief of the state news agency will be
Dusan Dakovic. Zoran Predic has been appointed as director of YU Info
Channel, and Zelidrag Nikcevic as editor-in-chief. Former Vecernje novosti
editor Manojlo Vukotic has been appointed director of Borba with acclaimed
journalist Aleksandar Nenadovic president of the board of management.
DOS Election Headquarters chief Cedomir Jovanovic said that
the new appointments reflected the right of DOS to use its federal powers to
make appropriate appointments. He claimed that the appointments reflected
not only the need to place key people in senior positions but the needs of
employees in the state media companies.
Aleksandar Nenadovic told media that he had no knowledge of
his appointment to head the Borba board of management. “Nobody has
called or consulted me on the matter. I am sorry to say that I am
unpleasantly surprised both by the news and the procedure,” he said.
The vice-president of the Civil Alliance of Serbia, Dragor
Hiber, told Beta that a number of solutions had been proposed at the DOS meeting
but that no definite decisions had been made because representatives of the
media companies and journalists’ associations were yet to be consulted.
TV PALMA AND THE SERBIAN PROGRESS PARTY
BELGRADE, December 2, 2000 The Party of Serbian Unity,
the Serbian Progress Party, the Rural Party of Serbia and the United Pensioners
Party have formed a new coalition.
The president of the Serbian Progress Party and proprietor
of TV Palma, Miodrag Vujovic, asked today whether the new coalition would
benefit from presentation on that station, said that the only thing in common
between TV Palma and the Serbian Progress Party was himself.
MARJANOVIC ALLEGES LIBEL
BELGRADE, December 4, 2000 Former Serbian Prime Minister
Mirko Marjanovic has written to Vecernje novosti explaining his decision to
press charges for libel against the paper and other parties.
The libel complaints, which were made last month against
the Belgrade daily, along with G17 Plus, and DOS leaders Vladan Batic and Nada
Kolundzija, allege “false, insulting and malicious information aimed at
In his letter to Vecernje novosti, Marjanovic says that he
had attempted to respond to the publication of this information with denials,
but that these were either not published or published in an inappropriate manner.
“In this situation, especially in cases where my
personal, private life has been attacked, with the publication of lies about me
having a credit arrangement with the Progres company for the purchase of
apartments, as well as about the conditions in which my family and I live, I
have decided to establish the truth before the appropriate court,” said
ARREST STATE MEDIA CHIEFS, SAY BEREAVED FAMILIES
BELGRADE, December 5, 2000 The families of the sixteen
Radio Television Serbia employees killed in the NATO bombing of the state
television headquarters on April 23 have appealed to senior state officials to
order an investigation into the circumstances. They have also demanded the
arrest of former Radio Television Management management members against whom
charges have been laid.
In an open letter to Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica,
Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, the Serbian justice ministers, the public
prosecutor and the president of the Supreme Court, the families warned that if
they received no answer to their appeal they would consider the recipients of
the letter to be equally responsible for protecting those responsible for the
deaths of the employees.
YUGOSLAV LEFT COMPLAINS TO OSCE
BELGRADE, December 5, 2000 The Yugoslav Left yesterday
warned the public about media discrimination against parties during the election
campaign, saying it would inform a broader public, including the OSCE about the
In its statement, the party described this discrimination
as directed mostly against itself.
“Although the Yugoslav Left is a party represented in
both the Federal and the previous Serbian Parliament, its statements and
activities have been systematically hidden. These have not been published
or reported, especially in the state-owned media which, by the nature of their
role, should pay adequate attention to the activities of political parties
represented in the parliament, “ said the statement.
The party gave as an example of what it described as the
state television’s ignorant and discriminatory attitude, the failure of Radio
Television Serbia to invite Yugoslav Left representatives to the signing of
regulations on the presentation of political parties in the run-up to the
December 23 Serbian elections.
MONTENEGRO ADOPTS TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT
PODGORICA, December 5, 2000 The Montenegrin Government
yesterday adopted new draft telecommunications legislation, taking over areas
previously ceded to the federal authorities, including the distribution of
Energy Minister Vojin Djukanovic told media that the
Telecommunications Bill proposed a telecommunications agency which would take
over all federal powers within the sector.
The bill will be tabled in the parliament during the second
half of December.
The Minister added that the new legislation would also
solve the issue of YU Info Channel, as well as the People’s Parliamentary
Television which presently broadcast in Montenegro without permission from the
BREAK AND ENTRY AT PUBLISHING HOUSE
BELGRADE, December 5, 2000 Representatives of Knjizevne
novine report that the magazine’s premises in central Belgrade were broken
into between December 2 and 4.
They were unable to establish whether anything had been
MINISTER MEETS OSCE DELEGATION
BELGRADE, December 6, 2000 Yugoslav Telecommunications
Minister Boris Tadic yesterday met a delegation from the OSCE to discuss
cooperation in the telecommunications and media sectors.
A statement from the Federal Information Ministry said that
Tadic had told OSCE Ambassador Alexandar Ivanko and press representative Melissa
Flemming that his ministry was at the moment working on ensuring that all
applicants for broadcast licences were given equal opportunities.
He emphasised that, under the present legal conditions,
there was no possibility of foreign investors buying radio frequencies.
RENEWAL MOVEMENT CLAIMS STATE MEDIA BIAS
BELGRADE, December 6, 2000 A senior official of the
Serbian Renewal Movement yesterday alleged that the editorial policy of Radio
Television Serbia lacked objectivity.
Vlajko Senic claimed that the state broadcaster was
breaking the agreement on party political presentations every day.
He emphasised that several aphorisms of Serbian Renewal
Movement presidency member Aleksandar Cotric were dropped from a story on the
party in the Election Chronicles program on Monday.
FAMILIES OF STATE MEDIA BOMB VICTIMS DEMAND INVESTIGATION
BELGRADE, December 6, 2000 The mother of one of the
Radio Television Serbia employees killed by NATO bombs on April 23 last year
told Radio B92 today that she expected the new state authorities, and above all
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, to expedite the beginning of
investigations against former senior management of the state media against whom
charges had been laid.
“We have lost our patience and it is finally time that
somebody did something,” said Zanka Stojanovic, adding that she was surprised
that the new management of Radio Television Serbia had still not responded
Stojanovic, whose son was killed in the bombing of the
media headquarters in central Belgrade, announced that the families of the
sixteen employees killed would join the Association of Families Bereaved in War
Actions from 1991 to 1999.
The families on Monday demanded the detention of former
management members from state television and called on senior state officials to
see that the investigation was begun.
“My position is that I have to appear personally, with
the other mothers, before the public prosecutor in order to find out what has
been done so far. This is really shameful. If my son had stolen a
telephone or even a piece of wire from Radio Television Serbia he would have
been convicted and had to take responsibility, but nobody has been called on to
take responsibility for the deaths of sixteen people,” Stojanovic told Radio
Justice Minister Dragan Subasic and Sead Spahovic said that
they were unable to comment because they had not received the letters sent to
them. Spahovic added that he had learnt of the matter only from the press
but that he supported the demands of the parents.
Police Minister Bozo Prelevic told Radio B92 that it was
unclear to him why there had been no victims of any bombing in the city, except
at Radio Television Serbia, particularly as the ensuing campaign indicated that
that political capital was being made out of the deaths.
“The parents of the Radio Television Serbia bomb victims
should send us what information they have which indicates any guilt on the part
of Komrakov and Milanovic and then, within our authority, we would be able to
investigate the accusations and pass these to the Prosecutor’s Office,” said
JOURNALIST ASSOCIATION EXPELS FORMER STATE MEDIA EDITOR
BELGRADE, December 6, 2000 The Association of Serbia
Journalists has expelled the former editor-in-chief of Radio Television
Serbia’s current affairs division.
The Association’s disciplinary committee cited “several
years of misinforming and deceiving the public, in contravention of journalists’
ethics,” in making the decision to expel Milorad Komrakov.
After a public debate which Komrakov did not attend,
despite having been invited, the committee ruled that the former head or state
media news had been guilty of subordinating professional journalism practice to
the narrow interest of the country’s former party and political management.
Committee member Bozidar Dikic told media that Komrakov was
a good journalist who knew exactly what news was important. However, he
added, in such a position Komrakov had carried greater responsibility.
“It is not difficult to say that the public was deceived by this way of
presenting information on television,” he said, adding that Komrakov and
former director Dragoljub Milanovic were not the only state media officials
responsible for misinformation.
Another committee member, Dragan Milenkovic, announced that
there would be further hearings, adding that Komrakov had been the first because
he was the president of the Association.
A third member of the committee, Miroslav Turudic,
described the planned hearings of accusations against directors, editors and
journalists who had served the former regime as the a moral purge of the
Association of Serbian Journalists which would enable a new generation of
journalists to join a professional association which did not carry the burden of
OSCE MEDIA OFFICE IN BELGRADE SOON
BELGRADE, December 6, 2000 Serbian Information Minister
Biserka Matic Spasojevic met an OSCE delegation in Belgrade on Tuesday.
The delegation was led by Germany’s ambassador to the
OSCE and included the organisation’s envoy for media matters, Aleksandar
Ivanko and press representative Melissa Flemming.
A statement from the Information Ministry described the
delegation as being particularly interested in how the Ministry saw the further
development of the independent media, the transition to free journalism and
political attitudes to the media.
The OSCE representatives expressed their willingness to
assist in the democratisation of the media and to contribute to the transition
The delegation also announced that an OSCE office would be
opened soon in Belgrade to deal with assistance to the media and other issues.
STAY AWAY FROM PINK AND PALMA, SAYS ORLIC
BELGRADE, December 6, 2000 A leading Democratic
Opposition of Serbia official on Tuesday criticised a number of his coalition
colleagues for agreeing to appear on the privately owned television stations
Pink and Palma.
Slobodan Orlic told media that such appearances ignored the
fact that professional organisations such as the Association of Independent
Electronic Media and the Association of Serbian Journalists were demanding
investigation into the operation and business dealings of these broadcasters.
“We all have the right to decide for ourselves when and
where to get media exposure, but responsible politicians should be careful not
to lend credibility to people who think that superficial change can absolve them
of responsibility for promoting the Milosevic regime,” said Orlic.
He described appearances by politicians on Palma and Pink
as extremely irritating for all citizens who on September 24 and October 5
fought for and won a different, modern Serbia.
COURT APPOINTS ACTING DIRECTOR FOR STATE MEDIA
BELGRADE, December 6, 2000 The Belgrade Commercial Court
ruled today that Nenad Ristic be appointed acting director of Radio Television
Ristic was previously one of several directors in the state
broadcaster’s interim management.
The Commercial Court has ruled on appointments to several
companies which have been managed by crisis committees since October 5.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS BILL IN PREPARATION
BELGRADE, December 7, 2000 The Federal
Telecommunications Ministry has begun drafting new legislation to regulate the
Senior Ministry consultant Gordana Petrovic told media
today that the bill will be based on legislative principles of the European
She remarked that the Ministry was prepared to cooperate
with media representatives and associations, as well as with experts in the
field of broadcasting and public information in general. The bill, she
added, would provide an objective, fair and transparent approach by the state to
the field of telecommunications and the allocation of radio frequencies and
SERBIAN JOURNALIST ASSOCIATION TO HEAR ALLEGATIONS AGAINST JOURNALISTS
BELGRADE, December 7, 2000 The Association of Serbian
Journalists announced today that it had scheduled the first of a series of
public debates before its disciplinary committee.
The committee has called on former state television
director-general Dragoljub Milanovic, former acting director of daily Vecernje
novosti, Dusan Cukic, former director of daily Borba, Zivorad Djordjevic and
former Federal Information Minister Goran Matic to appear at the public sessions.
They will be called on to “establish their professional
responsibility for manipulation of the media with the aim of misinforming the
Each of the accused will be given an hour to defend their
Future debates will address allegations against the former
director-general of Politika, Dragan Antic, the former acting director of Tanjug
news agency, Zoran Jevdjovic, and the former editor-in-chief of Politika ekspres,
MARKO MILOSEVIC ALLEGES LIBEL
BELGRADE, December 7, 2000 The son of former Yugoslav
president Slobodan Milosevic has laid charges against several media
organisations, alleging the publication of personal attacks and untruths about
him, Belgrade daily 24 Hours, writes today.
The daily, which is close to the former regime, does not
specify which companies Marko Milosevic is suing.
According to the report, the allegations have been filed
with the First and Second Belgrade Municipal Courts.
ROUND TABLE ON STATE TELEVISION
BELGRADE, December 7, 2000 Representatives of the
Serbian Government, media and non-government organisations today met in a round
table at the Belgrade Media Centre to discuss Radio Television Serbia and public
Participants in the discussion agreed that the main task
facing media in the republic was the depoliticisation and reorganisation of the
state broadcaster’s television service.
Speakers also agreed that the state television service had
still failed to produce an unbiased news program.
“There is no precedent anywhere in the world for a
television station with more than eight thousand employees to be unable to form
a team to produce news,” Information Minister Biserka Matic said.
“They are behaving as thought they had spent a long time in prison and are now
unable to cope with freedom,” said Matic, adding that it was important for
Serbian journalists to help one another.
Matic also warned that TV Pink, a private station close to
the Milosevic regime, had begun news broadcasts, that there was a Belgrade daily
called 24 Hours, also close to the Milosevic regime, and eight television
channels across Serbia owned by senior Socialist Party official Zoran
“I think that the Democratic Opposition of Serbia and
journalists should not underestimate these,” said Matic.
The acting director of Radio Television Serbia, Nenad
Ristic, told the conference that the company’s major problem was
impoverishment and debt.
“In order to have the company operate normally we must
establish a commission which will represent the public and evaluate the work of
the television and which the company will be responsible to,” he said.
The chairman of the Association of Independent Electronic
Media, Veran Matic, said that the new regime also wanted to control the media,
which was demonstrated by the appointment of Boris Tadic to the management board
“The reconstruction of the state television depends on
the reconstruction of the entire broadcasting system,” he said, adding that
there were independent radio stations which were a public service in the former
period and state television, which was a propaganda service, as well as private
stations which played the same role for the ruling parties.
Matic said that the independent media sector, which touched
on the commercial sphere, could be used as a model for reconstruction.
“This is massive decentralisation, getting rid of all the
orchestras, getting rid of everything which is not media. When it comes to
culture and education, anything worthwhile which was done well by Radio
Television Serbia can be done in the way independent production houses work,”
The round table was an introduction to the Media for a
Democratic Europe international conference which will begin in Belgrade on
Sunday under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the Association of
Independent Electronic Media.
STATE TELEVISION CORRESPONDENTS DEMAND NEW EDITOR
ZAJECAR, December 12, 2000 State television
correspondents in the town of Zajecar stopped work for an hour yesterday,
demanding the dismissal of editor Cedomir Nikolic.
In a letter to Radio Television Serbia management, the
correspondents accused Nikolic of creating “unbearable interpersonal
relations,” and say that the Yugoslav Left spokesman had had a negative impact
on the quality and objectivity of programming with his party bias.
The letter also claims that the branch office is unable to
operate properly, with only a long-outmoded semi-professional camera and other
technical equipment of similar quality.
It their demands are not met, say the journalists, they
will form a strike committee and consider a longer strike.
RADIO KIM DENIES ALLEGATIONS
GRACANICA, BELGRADE, December 12, 2000 Editorial staff
of Radio Kosovo and Metohija have denied information that Father Sava Janjic has
resigned as spokesman for the Serbian National Council because of conflict over
the appointment of a new director to the station.
The statement is signed by the station’s new director,
claiming that Father Save had nominated the RFI correspondent from Pristina for
The Radio KiM statement accuses Radio B92 of publishing
inappropriate and unconfirmed information “in the manner of Radio Television
A spokesman for Radio B92 said today that the station had
broadcast the information exactly as carried in a report from the Beta news
NEW FEDERAL APPOINTMENTS
BELGRADE, December 8, 2000 The Yugoslav Government
yesterday appointed a number of new federal ministers.
These included Slobodan Orlic as Federal Minister for
KOSTUNICA MEETS FAMILIES OF STATE TELEVISION BOMB VICTIMS
BELGRADE, December 8, 2000 Yugoslav President Vojislav
Kostunica today met representatives of the families of Radio Television Serbia
employees who died in last year’s NATO bombing.
FoNet reports that the meeting discussed the options
available to establish the truth about the deaths as soon as possible.
Kostunica undertook to ensure that legal procedures were
expedited to “clear the case up as soon as possible”.
MINSTER TO BE A JOURNALIST, SAYS HIBER
BELGRADE, December 8, 2000 The vice-president of the
Civil Alliance of Serbia said yesterday that the minister for information will
be a journalist, if the ministry remained arranged in the way it was at present.
“We do not want political control over information,”
said Dragor Hiber, adding that there were at present no politicians managing the
He also said that there would be no need for an information
ministry if “upright” legislation were passed.
BOOKS RETURNED TO SATIRIST
BELGRADE, December 8, 2000 Satirist Boban Miletic has
been returned copies of his books which had been confiscated because of content
allegedly insulting to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
The Knjazevac writer was summoned yesterday to the Zajecar
District Court and told his book “Cry, Mother Serbia” would be returned to
Court officials returned 25 copies of the book which had
been delivered to the court although police had confiscated 31 copies.
“I will relinquish the remaining six books to the police
for the sake of their education,” said Miletic.
FORMER BORBA DIRECTOR DISMISSED
BELGRADE, December 8, 2000 The federal government
publishing house Borba has dismissed its former director, Zivorad Djordjevic.
A statement from Borba today said that the dismissal will
not release Djordjevic from criminal responsibility for the management of the
Djordjevic resigned his position after beginning to receive
a salary as a member of the Federal Parliament.
Beta agency quotes a source within Borba as saying that the
former editor in chief of daily Vecernje novosti, Dusan Cukic, and his deputy,
Ivan Pajdic, have also been dismissed.
Disciplinary proceedings have begun against Vecernje
novosti editor-in-chief Ilija Zurovac and several other senior officials within
STOP SENSATIONAL REPORTING, SAYS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION
BELGRADE, December 8, 2000 The president of the Serbian
Writers Association has called on journalists to report objectively on the
In a response to a call from the Cultural Editors’ Forum
to ban reporting of what it describes as “the disgusting and futile words of
the Serbian Writers’ Association management,” Slobodan Rakitic called for
media editors to report the Association’s arguments instead of sensational
“The proposed moratorium means choosing sides in the
conflict which is only prolonging it artificially,” said Rakitic, adding that
the fact that the proposal referred only to statements from the Serbian Writers
Association demonstrated the biased attitude of certain media.
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