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<nettime> ANEM's weekly report: Feb 26-March 3 2000
mediawatch-owner on Mon, 6 Mar 2000 20:03:23 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> ANEM's weekly report: Feb 26-March 3 2000


ANEM'S WEEKLY REPORT 
ON MEDIA REPRESSION IN SERBIA
FEBRUARY 26, -MARCH 3, 2000.

RADIO B92 BEGINS TELEVISION TEST TRANSMISSIONS

BELGRADE, February 26, 2000 -- The usurping management of the Public Radio
Broadcast Company Radio B92, which seized this company illegally from its
owners, the employees, on April 2, 1999, following a ruling by the
Belgrade Commercial Court, has begun television test transmissions in the
Belgrade area on UHF Channel 33.

The former, legal, management of Radio B92 submitted comprehensive
documentation to the Federal Ministry of Telecommunications in February
1998 in support of an application for a television channel licence. After
the Ministry of Telecommunications failed to reply to this application for
more than a year, the Federal Court, only a month before the station was
seized, ruled in favour of Radio B92, ordering the Ministry of
Telecommunications to come to a decision on Radio B92's application.

The usurpers are thus now not only exploiting the radio station in which
other people had invested an enormous amount of effort and love over the
past decade, but also the project and documentation drawn up in order to
establish a television station. The fact that "the regime's B92" has now
set up a television station without any "technical problems" is
irrefutable proof that the former Radio B92 was denied a television
channel licence solely on political grounds and certainly not for the
technical reasons frequently cited by regime officials.


VECERNJE NOVOSTI FINED AGAIN

BELGRADE, February 26, 2000 -- Belgrade daily Vecernje novosti was today
fined 180,000 dinars, about 9,000 Deutschmarks, by City Magistrate
Slobodan Tirnanic. The daily was convicted of breaching the Public
Information Act in an article published on January 31 which claimed that a
young man had drowned in the Drina River after his boat had capsized
because it was overloaded with smuggled goods. The charges were brought by
the father of the drowned man. Novosti's information had been drawn from
an official report by state bodies which alleged that the tragedy had
occurred while a Yugoslav Army patrol boat was pursuing the other boat
with two people aboard. The same report stated that the survivor was
subsequently charged with smuggling. Thus this new fine is part of the
ongoing campaign against Novosti and Vecernje novosti. Novosti has been
convicted twice in three days under the notorious Public Information Act.
The fines totalled 470,000 dinars. The daily reported that both f! ! ines
had already been paid.


DISMISSAL OF CACAK TELEVISION DIRECTOR "POLITICAL"

CACAK, February 26, 2000 -- The former director of ANEM member station
Cacak RTV has claimed that political motives could have been behind his
dismissal in mid-February. Stojan Markovic was officially dismissed that
he had been absent from his duties without leave for 22 days up to the end
of last year. In an interview for Novosti, Markovic expressed suspicion
that the dismissal resulted from a conflict between Cacak Mayor Velimir
Ilic and TV Cacak editors, who were not will to adjust their programming
to the mayor's views. Markovic, a member of the Democratic party, also
speculated that his support for Slobodan Vuksanovic in his bid to wrest
the party leadership from Zoran Djindjic could be a motive for his
sacking. He added that the affair would have dire consequences for the
opposition coalition which holds local government power in Cacak. Markovic
has been replaced as director by Zoran Micovic, formerly the company's
financial manager.


IVAN MARKOVIC CONTINUES VERBAL ATTACKS

BELGRADE, February 26, 2000 -- Yugoslav Left spokesman and Federal
Telecommunications Minister Ivan Markovic today launched another virulent
verbal attack on his political opponents. Again Markovic acted illegally,
disseminating lies about the opposition. State daily Politika quoted
Markovic as saying that the state should react rapidly and more
efficiently against organisations such as TV Pancevo, Studio B, ANEM and
Vecernje novosti, which had breached the law. By making unsubstantiated in
the Politika article that the media beyond his control were operating
illegally (apparently anything not under the direct control of Markovic's
party is illegal) and that Belgrade was "governed by the CIA", Markovic
again demonstrated the intention of the regime coalition to go to any
lengths in confrontation with the opposition, the independent media and
all sectors of the civil society in Serbia. The only new item in the JUL
representative's statement was the Vecernje novosti, a daily whi! ! ch was
once considered state-controlled, was labelled as "treacherous". In recent
days Novosti has been subjected to intense pressure and exorbitant fines,
leading to fears that the paper will soon be burdened with similar
problems to those of Danas and Glas javnosti, both of which have been
targetted by the regime in recent months with the intention of financially
destroying these independent publications.


STUDIO B RECOMMISSIONS MOUNT KOSMAJ TRANSMITTER

BELGRADE, February 26, 2000 -- Studio B Television has restored
transmissions to central Serbia with the installation of a new repeater
station on Mount Kosmaj, the station's director, Dragan Kojadinovic, said
today.  Studio B's repeater equipment was stolen from Mount Kosmaj forty
days ago, limiting the station's coverage to the Belgrade area.

Kojadinovic said today that the new repeater restored the stations signal
to two million viewers and that the Studio B program was also available to
another 1.5 million potential new viewers through local television
stations which rebroadcast Studio B programs locally.


CENSORSHIP AT RADIO SABAC

SABAC, February 26, 2000 -- Radio Sabac Editor-in-Chief Ogolik Peric has
officially introduced censorship of current affairs programs on this radio
station. A memorandum written by Peric to the editor of the station's main
news program has come to light. It reads: "Vera, pay attention to the
report from the Serbian Renewal Movement press conference. Mute the sound,
particularly those statements which criticise state bodies or local
authorities".

Federal MP Zivko Topalovic said today "One thing is certain - they can't
hide the truth from the people.  Anyway, precisely because of this kind of
editorial policy almost no one respects or listens to Radio Sabac, which
was once the leading


YU INFO CHANNEL JUL PROPAGANDA: TV MONTENEGRO

PODGORICA, February 26, 2000 -- Television Montenegro today accused the
Yugoslav United Left (JUL) of having established a new television station,
YU Info, with the sole purpose of disseminating propaganda against the
Montenegrin authorities.

"This television station, set up by the Yugoslav United Left - the party
led by Mirjana Markovic, cannot possibly be described as a Yugoslav
broadcaster as Montenegro took no part in establishing the television
channel or creating its editorial policy," said Television Montenegro in
its main news program.

Television Montenegro also said that the pretentious of the name YU Info
Channel and its illegal transmissions on Montenegrin territory were not,
however, the worst aspects of the new broadcaster's launch. The commentary
continued "The Yugoslav Army has taken the worst possible step for its own
public image and that of the television station by allowing its facilities
to be used for the YU Info transmitters, thus giving property belonging to
us all to a political party, the Yugoslav United Left, which has virtually
no voters in Montenegro.


FIVE HUNDRED EMPLOYEES OUT OF WORK

BELGRADE, February 27, 2000 -- The board of management of ABC Produkt, the
majority owner and largest creditor of Belgrade printing firm ABC Grafika,
today strongly criticised the dismissal of ABC Grafika employees by the
official receiver.

The ABC Product board added that 284 employees of the printing firm, 106
from the transport company Udarnik which worked for ABC and another
hundred workers in related sectors of the company had been left without
employment. About two thousand family members of the dismissed workers
were thus affected.

"What are the motives behind this destruction of ABC Grafika by state
bodies? In whose interests are workers left stranded and jobless?" asked
the ABC Produkt board in its press release.


GLAS JAVNOSTI IN JEOPARDY

BELGRADE, February 27, 2000 -- The official receiver appointed for ABC
Grafika, Dusan Abramovic, has jeopardised the printing distribution of
independent daily Glas javnosti by sealing off part of the premises and
cutting power to lifts in the building, the paper's editorial staff
reported today. The official receiver officially sealed off part of the
premises, clearly demonstrating the increasing nervousness of the regime
which, despite the intensity of its repression of the independent media,
has persistently failed in its efforts to destroy them. Glas javnosti
editorial staff warned Abramovic that his actions were illegal and
demanded that he revoke his decisions.


TV PINK SHELVES MINIMAKS

BELGRADE, February 27, 2000 -- Pink TV star host Milovan "Minimaks" Ilic
has been taken off the air by the station's management. Pink management
first cut the fees of employees engaged on Ilic's "Maksovizija" program
then later suspended Ilic's contract. The action came after members of
Indeksovo pozoriste were guests on Maksovizija and a clip produced by them
was put to air. The Indeksovo pozoriste clip is presumed to be the
contentious issue as the lyrics of the song referred to police violence
against demonstrators as well as the misery and hopelessness of the
Serbian people. This reaction by TV Pink can only be explained in
political terms, particularly when taking into account that the program,
was seen by a record-breaking twenty million viewers last Wednesday, when
it was also broadcast by satellite. The regular Saturday morning
rebroadcast of Maksovizija did not occur.

Ilic was banned from the air a number of times during the 'seventies while
hosting the radio show Tup-tup, because of his jokes and criticisms aimed
at senior state officials of the day.


JOURNALIST ASSOCIATION PROTESTS

BELGRADE, February 29, 2000 -- The Independent Association of Serbian
Journalists yesterday held the second of its monthly protests against the
Serbian Public Information Act, threats to journalists and the state
boycott of independent media. The editors of media outlets fined in
February, Grujica Spasovic (Danas), Dragan Kojadinovic (Studio B) and
Stevan Niksic (NIN) addressed the journalists and public gathered on
Belgrade's central Republic Square.

Association board member Natasa Bogovic told the crowd that more than a
hundred media outlets in Serbia had joined the boycott of Vojislav Seselj
and his Serbian Radical Party. The names of another four magistrates who
fined independent media during February were added to the list of
disgraced magistrates. They are Miladin Ugljesic, Jasna Ucajev, Branislav
Gudovic and Svetlana Mirkovic-Disic.


NOVOSTI MANAGEMENT SPEAKS OUT

BELGRADE, February 29, 2000 -- The board of management of the Novosti
publishing company and editorial staff of the daily Vecernje novosti said
today that the primary objectives of the pressure exerted on the company
was to suppress the popular character of the highest circulation newspaper
in Serbia and Yugoslavia and to reverse the privatisation of the company.

The goal of the campaign, as stated in the management press release is "to
take over Vecernje novosti at any price from the people who have built
this newspaper and to revoke, in a clandestine manner and by the most
crude violations of Serbia's laws and Constitution, the entirely
legitimate and legal process of ownership transformation.


COMMITTEE FOR DEFENCE OF NOVOSTI ESTABLISHED

BELGRADE, February 29, 2000 -- More than twenty academics and public
figures have established the Committee of Intellectuals to Defend Novosti,
as a demonstration of support for the "independent and non-party" status
of this publishing house and its daily newspaper Vecernje novosti. The
Committee, in a press release yesterday, said that the news of the
previously planned hijacking of Novosti AD had reached many figures in the
public and cultural life of the country.

According to unofficial information, Novosti is to become part of the
Federal Government publishing house Borba, through the annulling of its
1991 ownership transformation.


INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN AGGRESSOR'S YOKE: INFORMATION MINISTRY

BELGRADE, February 29, 2000 -- The Serbian Ministry of Information
yesterday made a series of allegations against what it described as "the
self-proclaimed independent media" had been harnessed by "the aggressor"
and that their objective was to entirely destroy freedom of public
expression.

"What do these so-called independent media actually stand for? Who do they
represent?" asked the Serbian Ministry of Information in a press release,
going on to say: " These are the media which, as we all very well know,
receive funds from their bosses from abroad under the guise of the
democratisation process in Serbia. They no longer even attempt to conceal
the fact that they are generously paid and rewarded for promoting US
interests in Serbia.

"They are, furthermore, even boasting of being in the service of those who
prepared and carried out aggression on Serbia and Yugoslavia. They are
working for those who have murdered our people and, by introducing all
sorts of sanctions, made it impossible for our people to live and work in
a normal way".

Later in the same press release, the Ministry of Information accuses the
independent media of "publishing untruths about their own people and
state, thus carrying out a unique media harassment campaign and violating
not only laws but basic moral standards as well. The notion of patriotism
to them doesn't mean love of their fatherland and people, but blind
obedience to the murderers of Serbia and its citizens/"


RADICALS CALL FOR BOYCOTT OF "ANTI-SERB" MEDIA

NIS, February 29, 2000 -- The president of the Serbian Radical Party's
regional board in Nis, Dragoljub Stamenkovic, said yesterday that his
branch had cut all cooperation with "anti-Serb media and news agencies".
Stamenkovic called on all party members and all who sympathises with the
Radical Party to boycott Glas javnosti, Blic and the Nis-based Narodne
novine and to stop advertising their companies in these newspapers.
Stamenkovic also announced that the same measures, including an end to any
sort of communication, would be applied to local television stations Niska
Televizija and Televizija 5.


FIERCE YUGOSLAV LEFT ATTACK ON PIROT INDEPENDENT MEDIA

PIROT, February 29, 2000 -- Officials of the Pirot Municipal Board of the
Yugoslav United Left (JUL) at a press conference yesterday mounted a
fierce attack on local independent media TV Pirot and Sloboda, describing
their editorial policies as "inquisitional and terrorist".

The president of the JUL Municipal Board, Nenad Zdravkovic, alleged that
the local media in Pirot were particularly anxious to bear down on the
United Left, adding that the apex of their bias and lack of
professionalism was the practice of Sloboda, which did not publish
information released by the party but always published negative editorial
commentaries in response to announcements from JUL.


NOVOSTI SHAREHOLDERS MEETING

BELGRADE, March 1, 2000 -- An extraordinary meeting of the shareholders of
the company Novosti AD will be held today at the editorial premises of
Vecernje novosti regarding the disputed ownership transformation of the
company. The Belgrade Higher Commercial Court, at the request of the
Federal Public Institution "Borba" today annulled the 1998 ruling of the
Agency for Capital Evaluation which verified the value of the company's
capital. The process of ownership transformation of this company, which is
now 76.06 per cent privately owned, was begun in 1991. The management
board of Novosti demanded that the Federal Prosecutor act in order to
prevent breaches of legislation in the ruling of the Higher Commercial
Court.


YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT ANNEXES INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER

BELGRADE, March 3, 2000 - The Yugoslav Government yesterday put
independent daily Vecernje novosti under the control of state media
company Borba. Justifying the decision the Federal Government stated that
the move had come after a Belgrade court ruled that the state was the
majority owner of Vecernje novosti.

Novosti's board of management today accused the Yugoslav Government of
breaching the company's legal right to lodge an appeal within eight days
by "passing sentence without waiting for the court" in that it had annexed
Vecernje novosti and put it under the control of Borba.  Novosti's press
release said that the board, meeting in an emergency session, had
expressed its absolute disagreement with the decision, claiming that
someone had "obviously deceived the Yugoslav Government". The government's
decision was described as a rash and incomprehensible move which had
effectively abolished the independence of Novosti.


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