mediawatch-owner on Sat, 12 Feb 2000 18:17:47 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]


ANEM press release


BELGRADE, February 10, 2000 - The Association of Independent Electronic
Media (ANEM) expresses dismay at today's statement by Deputy Serbian Prime
Minister Vojislav Seselj accusing journalists from the independent media
of the murder of Yugoslav Defence Minister Pavle Bulatovic. Seselj, who is
also the president of the Serbian Radical Party, made the accusation at a
scheduled press conference. ANEM rejects with disgust this allegation that
journalists have perpetrated terrorist action in this country and also
expresses its gravest concern at Seselj's warning of executions. 

In an unprecedented verbal attack, laced with open vilification and
extremely serious threats, Deputy Prime Minister Seselj, repeating a
number of times "the gloves are off," announced that the state would use
all means at its disposal to do away with independent journalists. In
addition to invoking the Constitution and other legislation, he also
warned of the possibility of summary executions. Repeating his claims of
treason, comparing journalists with murderers and describing them as being
worse than criminals, Seselj openly called for the public lynching of
independent journalists, a call to which no journalist can remain
indifferent. Accusing journalists of being accomplices in the murder of
Pavle Bulatovic, Seselj threatened that, in the case he were executed,
many journalists would suffer the same fate. The deputy prime ministers
threats were addressed to all employees of and contributors to independent
media. In reply to a question from a journalist as to whether the re!  ! 
cent spate of murders of senior state officials in Belgrade had put him in
fear of his own life, the deputy prime minister replied "It's you who
should be afraid". 

ANEM notes with regret that our society has sunk to a state where a senior
government official can, albeit in a passionate state, make such an
unbalanced, irresponsible and frightening statement. In ANEM's view this
statement if extremely dangerous, because the force of the state stands
behind Deputy Prime Minister Seselj. The journalists of the independent
media do not represent any terrorist organisation and are noted for having
no weapons but words. Despite the absurdity of the accusation that
independent journalists were involved in the murder of Defence Minister
Bulatovic, ANEM emphasises that this is still the most ominous allegation
heard in Serbia to date. 

ANEM further believes that even if this statement from Vojislav Seselj
(like those recently made by Serbian Information Minister Aleksandar
Vucic) were merely intended to intimidate journalists, Seselj has gone too
far with this threat and has overstepped the limits of social behaviour
towards journalists from some media. This statement heralds the concrete
introduction of open dictatorship in the country. 

ANEM demands that the Yugoslav and Serbian presidents and all state
institutions declare themselves in public on this statement and react in
accordance with their duty. ANEM calls on the authorities, if they are in
agreement with today's statement from Vojislav Seselj, to openly proclaim
that there is no freedom of speech in this country, rather than claiming
that such freedom exists while at the same time threatening journalists
and others from the independent media with execution. In this way
journalists would at least know the rules of the game and would not need,
although blameless, to live in fear of being set upon and killed in some
dark alley.  This is the fate Seselj's statement implies may await them,
although they are only exercising their own right to provide - and the
public's right to receive - professional and objective news and


More details at

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: