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Geert Lovink: ANEM media update

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Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 19:23:41 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <>
Subject: ANEM media update

ANEM media update

Yugoslav Telecommunications Ministry continues shutdown of ANEM affiliate
broadcasters; Independent newspaper fined

BELGRADE, June 24 -- After each international agreement accepted by the
Yugoslav regime, repression within the country increases, especially
repression of the independent media. That pattern is now repeating. The
regime has continued the repression it began last year with the Republic
of Serbia's Public Information Act, under which a large number of media
outlets have been destroyed. The Yugoslav Telecommunications Ministry has
also banned several more radio and television stations.

On June 22, Radio VK in Kikinda and RTV Devic in Smederevska Palanka, both
ANEM affiliates, were banned and transmission equipment seized.

Radio VK was closed down with the justification that the station was
operating without a licence. This is the third time the authorities have
closed the station. As on the two earlier occasions, the banning order is
illegal as the ministry has not taken into account the fact that the
station met all requirements in the February 1998 frequency competition
and remains unlicensed only because of the authorities' discriminatory
attitude. On the day the banning order was received, the station also
received invoices for the use of the frequency, despite having been banned
over the period covered by the invoice. The station's founder and owner,
Mr Zoran Milesevic, alleges that the equipment seized from the station has
been given to Radio Television Serbia.

RTV Devic in Smederevska was banned with the justification that it had not
paid the fee for the use of its frequency. RTV Devic also tendered in the
February 1998 frequency competition and, despite the fact that it met all
requirements, has not been granted a licence. It has, nevertheless, been
asked to pay fees for the use of its frequency. The justification for the
ban includes the claim that the Decree on the fee obliges all stations
tendering for a frequency to pay the fee. This claim is not correct.

ANEM will provide assistance for these stations in obtaining legal redress
against these actions. The Association also repeats its demand that the
authorities enable journalists and media outlets in this country to work
unhindered and under equal conditions.

The independent Parliament newspaper, one of the most influential
independent publications in Sandzak has been fined 135,000 dinars
(approximately 13,000 DM) under the Serbian Public Information Act. The
justification for the conviction claims that the newspaper's masthead did
not contain the name of its editor-in-chief. The fine is to be paid within
24 hours, under threat of confiscation of Parliament's assets. ANEM fears
that the newspaper will cease publication. The Serbian Public Information
Act has already resulted in the a number of media outlets closing down.

ANEM is concerned that repression of this newspaper could aggravate the
situation in Sandzak, a multiethnic community of Serbs and Muslims,
resulting in new tensions between the two groups. ANEM demands that the
Serbian Public Information Act be repealed and replaced by new media laws
in keeping with European and global standards of freedom of information
and speech.