Ivo Skoric on Sun, 20 Dec 1998 20:19:30 +0100 (CET)

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This was just a question of time - that Serbian government 
will start to apply its own anti-press law to the Albanian language 
newspapers. As they regained the control over the province, the 
crackdown started. This is a wide action aimed to eliminate all but 
one Albanian language printed media. Some newspapers are accused for 
endangering the constitution on the basis of articles not yet 
published. Meaning that Serbian police preventively read everything 
even things that sit locked in the editor's desk. This ads new twist 
to this creative legislative action: journalists are punished for the 
intent to publish information that the State might not like.


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------



The minister of information of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, sent
on Thursday, December 17, 1998, a warning to the Albanian language newspapers
and magazines that they would be taken to court  if they don't change their
editorial policy. The minister wrote,  that the newspapers, according to their
analysis of texts that were published in these newspapers and magazines, were
"calling for the violent break of the constitutional order, territorial
integrity and unity of the Republic of Serbia and FR of Yugoslavia" as well as
violating the rights of citizens, that is  inciting national, racial or
religious hatred.

A fax has been sent to the following newspapers and magazines: KOHA Ditore,
KOHA, Zeri i Dites, Fjala e jone (published in the village of Prugovac), Fjala
e jone (published in Prishtina). Furthermore , a fax has been sent to the
newspaper BUJKU, warning the newspaper that it hadn't been registered in the
Ministry's register of newspapers, and that it if didn't register measures
against it would be taken.

The newspapers have not been informed which of the articles have caused a
reaction by the minister. To make the matters worse, the minister himself is
claiming  that he has seen offensive articles that have never appeared.
Namely, the daily newspaper Zeri i Dites has not appeared yet, it is planned to
be published sometime in March of next year. Or, in the case of Fjala jone, the
minister claims that offensive articles have appeared in a newspaper that has
not been printed or distributed for months.

It is clear therefore that, lacking more serious insight on the media scene in
Kosova, the Serb minister of information, who had sent these kinds of letters
to three newspapers in Blegrade (Nasa Borba, Danas and Dnevni Telegraf) is
actually planning to close two of Kosova's daily newspapers in Albanian: KOHA
Ditore, the most influential Albanian language outlet, and Bujku (which is
actually registered under the Socialist Yugoslavia register). The only Albanian
language newspaper not affected would be Kosova Sot, a new Albanian language

Veton Surroi,

Editor in chief, KOHA Ditore
Prishtina, 17 December, 1998

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