Geert Lovink on Fri, 26 Mar 1999 17:33:35 +0100

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From: Marija Milosavljevic <>

ANEM press release


Belgrade -- March 25, 1999
The Association of Independent Electronic Media in FR Yugoslavia (ANEM)
today expressed grave concern over the increasing repression against
journalists in FR Yugoslavia. ANEM condemned the decision of the Serbian
government to expel all foreign journalists from countries involved in the
NATO air strikes and the closures of two local media outlets one of which
has resulted in the death of one man.

On March 24, satellite equipment of EBU, European Broadcasters Union, was
confiscated, regardless of the fact that the Yugoslav Federal
Telecommunications Ministry had issued the EBU with a satellite
broadcasting licence.

According of EBU co-ordinator Bruno Beekman's statement to Belgrade-based
news agency Beta, a group of ten men who refused to provide any
identification came to EBU's offices at Belgrade's Hotel Intercontinental.
Having inspected the EBU staff's identifications and forced them to stand
face to wall, they took the equipment despite the fact that the staff had
showed a satellite licence from the Telecommunications Ministry.

Meanwhile, a group of 20-odd journalists who were observing the situation
in Belgrade from the roof of the Hotel Hyatt were shortly detained.

On March 25, Serb police closed down the Albanian-language daily Koha
Ditore in Pristina and killed the newspapers security guard. Koha was the
last remaining Albanian-language newspaper in Kosovo. Koha's owner Veton
Surroi, currently in hiding, told media that the staff no longer had
access to the newspaper's premises and that the lawyer defending the paper
against charges under Serbia's Public Information Act had been abducted,
together with his two sons.

CNN's driver and interpreter were beaten up in Pristina the same day.

Later in the day, majority of the correspondents of the Western media left
the country as a result of the announcement of expulsion order by Serbian
Information Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who said all correspondents of the
media based in the countries who had participated in the NATO air raids
against Yugoslavia had to go.  His order accused journalists of
"instigating NATO's aggressive activities which were aimed at destroying
the constitutional order and territorial integrity of Serbia and
Yugoslavia and of misinforming the world".

In a news conference later in day, Yugoslav Federal Deputy Prime Minister
Vuk Draskovic welcomed members of the foreign press to stay. "We need you
because we need you to report the truth", Draskovic said. He later
condemned Serbian Information Minister's expulsion order.

Radio 021, an ANEM affiliate in Novi Sad, capital of the Vojvodina
province, was banned in the evening. The official justification of the ban
was that the station had not paid the frequency tax for February.

ANEM expressed grave concern over these drastic violations of the freedom
of the press in FR Yugoslavia and stressed the importance of the free flow
of information for the establishment of peace, an effective resumption of
political negotiations and stability in the region. ANEM pledged it would
continue to provide its audience with as much professional information as
possible despite gravely deteriorated conditions for the professional
journalistic work. ANEM called all groups and individuals to support
similar efforts.