ANEM WEEKLY REPORT ON MEDIA REPRESSION IN SERBIA
DECEMBER 16 - DECEMBER 22, 2000.
BLOCKADE ORGANISERS BAR JOURNALISTS FROM BUJANOVAC
VRANJE, December 16, 2000 - The organisers of the blockade on the Nis-Skopje road near Bujanovac have refused to allow journalists from Belgrade dailies Glas javnosti and Danas, weekly Vranjske novine, Radio Detusche Welle and Radio Free Europe to enter the Bujanovac region. They accused the journalists of biased and inaccurate reporting of the protest. The Beta correspondent received and anonymous phone warning against entering Bujanovac, saying that he was unwanted because of his party-biased and separatist reports of the road blockade and the Serb protest in the town.
Because journalists were prevented from doing their normal work, the Vranje branch of the Independent Association of Serbian Journalists demanded that the Serbian authorities enable journalists for work. The DOS coordinator for the Pcinj district, Dragan Janjic told media that the organisers of the blockade had attempted to overturn his car last night as he was setting off to Vranje from Bujanovac. After several hours of persuasion he managed to leave the region using a cross-country detour.
JOURNALISTS PROTEST HARASSMENT OF COLLEAGUE
VRANJE, December 16, 2000 - Journalists from national and foreign media have severely condemned the physical harassment of the Bujanovac correspondent for Radio B92 and Glas javnosti, Radoman Iric. Journalists from Beta News Agency, daily Danas, Radio Free Europe, Radio Deutsche Welle Agence France Press and Novine Vranjske published a statement severely condemning the "physical attack and molestation" of Iric by the protest organisers at the Nis-Skopje road near Bujanovac. Members of the south Serbian branch of the Independent Association of Serbian Journalists reported that police and Yugoslav Army representatives had been cooperative, as had the public of Bujanovac and Presevo, saying that journalists in south Serbia did not need bodyguards but only the opportunity to work professionally. "In spite of everything we remain dedicated to the truth because this is our major responsibility to the Serbian and Yugoslav public, although pressure is exerted on us every day," said the journalists in their statement.
RADIO BUJANOVAC LIBERATED, SAYS MINISTER
BUJANOVAC, December 16, 2000 - The situation in Bujanovac is very problematic because of terrorists near Vranje, Bujanovac and Presevo, because of the lack of media in Bujanovac and because of the most recent citizens protest, which was orchestrated from outside, says Information Minister Biserka Matic.
Matic, who is in Bujanovac together with Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic, told Radio B92 that local representatives of the Socialist Party of Serbia and Yugoslav Left had denied any involvement in organising the protest.
She said that one of the ways to decrease tension in south Serbia was to inform people properly, adding that she was sorry if Radio B92 had problems with people who felt in danger because the terrorists were nearby.
Various go-betweens were fanning the flames, said Matic, adding that there was no source of objective information to dispel rumours among the public. "I think I have achieved something good today. We have liberated Radio Bujanovac and from today they will do what the public expects of them, provide real information so that they know what is going on," said the minister.
MORATORIUM ON FREQUENCY DISTRIBUTION TO ELECTRONIC MEDIA
BELGRADE, December 16, 2000 - The Federal Telecommunications Ministry will impose a moratorium on the distribution of frequencies to electronic media, Yugoslav Telecommunications Minister Boris Tadic announced today.
The Ministry will terminate all current frequency licenses, probably in June 2001, and put up a new tender for all interested parties, under equal conditions, Tadic said at a Democratic Party press conference.
Responding to sacked Studio B director Dragan Kojadinovic's announcement that he would found a television station, Tadic said "Kojadinovic well be able to compete, as all the others, for the distribution of frequencies when the Ministry decides to start this procedure".
"We will stand in the way of all those wish to open radio and television stations against the law. We will take all the necessary measures and ban their work", Tadic added.
The ministry has started returning to radio and television equipment confiscated by the Milosevic regime to its owners, Tadic confirmed.
Tadic emphasised that he is still dissatisfied with the situation in the telecommunications department and would question and review all the mobile telephone operators' contracts.
FORMER MEDIA BOSS LAYS BREAK AND ENTER CHARGES
BELGRADE, December 16, 2000 - The former director of the Political media corporation has asked the Municipal Prosecutor to investigate a criminal break-in at the Politika premises during Yugoslavia's October 5 revolution.
Hadzi Dragan Antic alleges that during that evening unidentified people broke into the premises, armed with metal bars and claiming a connection with the Democratic Opposition of Serbia.
In the complaint filed today he claims that they threatened to demolish the premises and stole valuable property, including paintings and cash.
Antic also alleges that one of the groups produced a gun and fired it in the direction of an employee who was attempting to prevent damage. (Beta)
SOCIALISTS COMPLAIN TO OSCE ABOUT CAMPAIGN CONDITIONS
BELGRADE, December 16, 2000 - Socialist Party of Serbia Vice-president Zivadin Jovanovic issued a complaint today to the OSCE monitoring mission about pre-electoral campaign conditions in Serbia.
Jovanovic said that his party leadership and members have been "threatened physically," but did not specify any specific incidents.
In a conversation with the OSCE monitoring mission led by Nikolai Vulcanov, Jovanovic said the rules and conditions for conducting free and fair elections have been "violated," the Socialist Party of Serbia statement says.
Jovanovic pointed out that certain parties, especially the Socialists, has been "discriminated against by the media," especially state-run Radio Television Serbia and most of the dailies.
KOSTUNICA TO HOLD REGULAR PRESS CONFERENCE
BELGRADE, December 16, 2000 - Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica has introduced regular press conferences.
The first of the monthly conferences will be held in the Federation Palace at 1.00 p.m., on December 19. (FoNet)
INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION MEETS
BELGRADE, December 16, 2000 - The president of the Independent Association of Serbian journalists, Gordana Susa, told a regular members' assembly today that the association's strategic goal was to upgrade itself from a voluntary-activist organisation to a professional association.
"As an organisation which protects the interests of the public and our profession, as well as the individual rights of members, we should become a more efficient professional association," Susa told members.
Claiming credit for the Association in the democratic changes in Serbia, she remarked that "although the authorities had changed, the regime has not". This, she said was demonstrated by "the dangerous rules on party presentations and requests from the government on the terms media should use when reporting from Kosovo and the Presevo Valley"
Since its last general meeting the organisation has focused on defending marginalised individuals and editorial groups. The Association has also published five issues of "The Repression Files" with the aim of providing information to the public on the most drastic abuses in regime-owned media and the repression of independent media and journalists.
The Assembly was divided over a possible merger with the Association of Journalists of Serbia. The former editor-in-chief of Glas javnosti called for an association representing all Serbian journalists.
Susa, however, said that the association's statute favoured pluralism.
"The convention expresses the pluralism of unification. We shall leave their association to solve their problems and we shall deal with ours. When they have got rid of agitators and all those who have brought us and our profession to its present state, then we may make joint projects, but this definitely does not mean that we will merge," said Susa.
The Bujanovac correspondent for Glas javnosti and Radio B92, Radoman Iric, called for support from Belgrade for journalists in south Serbia. Iric, who was recently attacked for "misinforming the public," told Radio B92 that he expected the Association to protect journalists working in the south because there would be dangerous incidents there in the coming days and months.
"I was lucky to avoid being lynched when the organisers were prepared to let two or three thousand people run me down," said Iric.
ORLIC AND MATIC MEET MEDIA IN BUJANOVAC
BUJANOVAC, December 18, 2000 - Yugoslav Information Minister Slobodan Orlic and Serbian Information Minister Biserka Matic today met the mayor and deputy mayor of Bujanovac.
Together with local media representatives, they discussed news coverage in Serbia's Kosovo border municipalities.
Matic told the meeting that an Albanian-language radio station would be established within three weeks, funded by the Serbian government and local authorities in Presevo.
This is expected to improve the poor information flow into southern Serbia.
Matic also told the director of a local cultural centre, Nasuf Behljulji, that whatever was necessary would be done to provide up-to-date and objective news coverage to Albanians from Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja.
The station will be based in the Presevo Cultural Centre. (Beta)
JOINT GOVERNMENT PRESS CENTRE TO OPEN
BUJANOVAC, December 18, 2000 - A joint Serbian and Yugoslav government press centre will open in Bujanovac tomorrow, the Serbian Information Ministry has announced.
The establishment of the centre follows an agreement by the two governments at a meeting in the town on December 16.
The centre will be open 24 hours a day to cater to the demand for information from the district of Pcinj. (Beta)
B92 ADMITTED INTO PRIX ITALIA
BELGRADE, December 18, 2000 -- Radio and Television B92 were yesterday admitted into the Prix Italia association for broadcasters of national importance.
The organisation brings together the world's national stations, including the BBC, ZDF and CNN.
PROTECTING JOURNALISTS IN THE DEEP SOUTH
BELGRADE, December 18, 2000 - Following an attack on Radio B92 correspondent Radoman Iric, the Association of Independent Journalists of Serbia has called for urgent measures to protect journalists in the Bujanovac and Presevo region so that they are free to provide information on the area to the local and international public. The Association also called for measures to lower local tensions which are hindering democratic change and disturbing the public.
In its statement, the Association says that threatening and pressuring journalists in their work will be tolerated.
The people of Bujanovac and Presevo, or any other part of the country, have a right to be informed of everything happening in their environment, says the Association.
SAINOVIC LAYS CHARGES AGAINST SUNDAY TIMES
BELGRADE, December 20, 2000 - Senior Socialist Party of Serbia official Nikola Sainovic is seeking legal redress from London weekly The Sunday Times over the paper's claim that he had taken twelve million dollars out of Yugoslavia.
Sainovic also announced that he is joining charges laid by former Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic against a Rome newspaper for making similar accusations, with the sum reported in billions.
The former deputy Yugoslav prime minister will also lay charges against domestic media. (Beta)
SPECIAL WAR CONDUCTED THROUGH MEDIA, SAYS MIRA MARKOVIC
BELGRADE, December 20, 2000 - Mirjana Markovic, the wife of ousted Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, has accused media of conducting a special war against her and her family.
Speaking to a Vienna newspaper, Markovic said that everything written in the press was absolutely untrue, including rumours of "millions, which of course we do not have," adding that all accusations against the family were politically-based.
"The press wrote about the wars in the former Yugoslavia in an untrue way. There is a special war being conducted against us through the media," said Markovic, alleging that this war was conducted by "Western conservative circles who want to occupy this territory".
MILOSEVIC MEDIA BOSS IN CUBA?
BELGRADE, December 21, 2000 - The former director of the Politika media corporation, Hadzi Dragan Antic, fled the country on December 15 on a one way ticket to Cuba via Moscow, Vecernje novosti reported today.
According to the report, Antic bought a one-way ticket and left Belgrade airport for Moscow accompanied by a young woman. Two days later he proceeded to Cuba.
A Belgrade airport clerk described Antic as standing aside while his companion checked in for the flight.
KOSAVA BACK ON THE AIR
BELGRADE, December 21, 2000 - After disappearing from the air during the October 5 revolution, a television station owned by the daughter of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic resumed broadcasting today.
Federal Telecommunications Ministry officials say they will investigate.
The Belgrade press today quote rumours that the Mitsui company, former part-owner of Belgrade daily Blic, had planned to buy TV Kosava from Marija Milosevic.
MOST MEDIA VIOLATING BLACKOUT, SAYS WATCHDOG
BELGRADE, December 22, 2000 - Most public media have already violated the media moratorium for Saturday's elections, the Supervisory Committee for Elections announced today. The committee claims that Radio Television Serbia broadcast an interview with New Serbia president Velimir Ilic fifteen minutes after the information blackout began at midnight last night.
According to the committee, BK Television also breached the blackout several times during the night and all print media today reported on the Democratic Opposition of Serbia election campaign.
Some media had also mentioned certain Socialist Party, Radical Party and Serbian Renewal Movement officials in a negative context, the committee claimed in a statement issued today.
HEARING AGAINST STATE MEDIA ENDS AFTER EIGHT YEARS
BELGRADE, December 22, 2000 - The hearing of evidence on charges brought by Radio Television Serbia employees on compulsory leave ended on Thursday after eight years' delay. First Municipal Court Judge Gordana Komnenic will rule within fifteen days on the employees' claim for reinstatement.
State television employees were dissatisfied with Radio Television Serbia's insistence that the charges be dismissed, describing this as a continuation of the policies of the former management. An earlier decision by interim director Nenad Ristic on October 10 to re-employ the workers was revoked on December 12.
About 1,100 Radio Television Serbia staff were made
redundant or forced to take leave in 1993. Thirty of these filed charges against
the state broadcaster, seeking a ruling of illegality on the compulsory leave
and all subsequent decisions as well as salary compensation. The compensation
case in the meantime has been abandoned in order to claim employment status.
The case has been referred back to the court of first
degree four times on technicalities.
On employee on compulsory leave, Isidora Sekulic, told
media that the day before Ristic had told her that the broadcaster would drop
Komnenic ruled that a decision would be made on the previously submitted evidence after lawyers acting for the employees declined to call new witnesses, including the former director of Radio Television Serbia, Dragoljub Milanovic.
JOURNALIST ASSOCIATIONS IN WAR OF ACCUSATIONS
BELGRADE, December 22, 2000 - The Association of Serbian Journalists has accused the Independent Association of Serbian Journalists of planning an illegal takeover of its premises, reiterating an offer to make rooms available to the Independent Association for token rent.
The statement accuses the Independent Association of misinforming the public by claiming that they were returning to their own offices.
The Association of Serbian Journalists has repeatedly claimed that it owns the central building premises. The Independent Association claims that the building belongs to all Serbian journalists and that it was nationalised after the Second World War before being place at the disposal of the Association of Serbian Journalists in 1976.
The Independent Association announced that it would enter the premises on Friday accompanied by bailiffs executing an order of the Fourth Belgrade Municipal Court.
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