|nettime on Tue, 29 Jun 1999 11:23:55 +0200 (CEST)|
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|geert lovink: ANEM media update [27 june]|
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - <firstname.lastname@example.org> is the temporary home of the nettime-l list while desk.nl rebuilds its list-serving machine. please continue to send messages to <email@example.com> and your commands to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. nettime-l-temp should be active for approximately 2 weeks (11-28 Jun 99). - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 21:51:18 +0200 (CEST) From: Geert Lovink <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: ANEM media update ANEM media update TV SOKO CLOSED AGAIN; Ristic imprisonment upheld; Ministry Threatens Charges for FREQUENCY Fee Defaulters BELGRADE, June 27 -- TV Soko in Sokobanja was again closed down on June 25. Telecommunications inspectors, backed by more than ten police, entered the station's premises and seized transmission equipment. Just hours after this raid, TV Soko resumed broadcasting using backup equipment. TV Soko was first closed down on March 27. The Yugoslav Inspector for Radio Links attempted to seize transmission equipment from the station but was prevented from this by Sokobanja residents who had gathered to defend their broadcaster. After lengthy negotiations, partly aimed at securing the safety of the inspector and avoiding a violent conflict between police and residents, it was agreed that the station's broadcasts would be banned, but its equipment remained in the studios. The premises were then sealed. The justification for this first closure was that the station had operated without a licence. TV Soko is one of a number of independent broadcasters which tendered in the February 1998 frequency competition but received no response to their applications. On June 12, after the Nato attack against Yugoslavia ended, TV Soko removed the seals from the studios and resumed broadcasting. The station's editor-in-chief, Nebojsa Ristic, is presently serving a one-year prison sentence after the Zajecar District Court on June 6 upheld a one-year prison sentence handed down to Ristic in the Sokobanja Municipal Court on April 23. The Zajecar District Court dismissed an appeal against the sentence and conviction for the criminal act of disseminating untrue information under Article 218 of the Criminal Code of Serbia. The charges related to Mr Ristic displaying a "FREE PRESS, MADE IN SERBIA" poster in the station's studios in protest at the repression of the free press in Serbia. The rulings of both courts cite criminal acts abolished by the Serbian Constitutional Court on December 17, 1991 and are therefore illegal as they are based on a regulation which is contrary to the constitution. This article's contradiction of international guarantees of freedom of expression has been emphasised in almost every report on the human rights situation in Yugoslavia and Serbia. Up to June 25 a number of ANEM affiliates had received warnings from the Yugoslav Telecommunications Ministry that they would be prosecuted if they failed to pay fees for the use of their frequencies. Payment of the exorbitant fees may force the closure of stations as they have little or no opportunity to generate revenue in the current dire economic situation. The Yugoslav Telecommunications Ministry and the Yugoslav Government had previously passed a decree exempting from payment of the fee those broadcasters which had put their equipment "at the service of the country's defence". The latest warnings from the ministry disregard the fact that ANEM's affiliates have been forced to put their resources at the service of the Yugoslav Army and Radio Television Serbia. RTV Devic in Smederevska Palanka, an ANEM affiliate, has already been banned with the justification that it had not paid the fee. Other broadcasters, unable to raise the fee, face a similar fate. It is of particular concern that there is no legal basis for demanding frequency fees from stations which have been denied a licence by the authorities, despite having met all the requirements of the February 1998 round of frequency bids.