mediawatch on Wed, 19 Apr 2000 18:14:11 +0200 (CEST)

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APRIL 8 - 14, 2000


NOVI SAD, April 8, 2000 -- An unidentified body was recovered from the
Open University building in Novi Sad yesterday after a fire destroyed the
building?s six upper floors on Thursday. The director of Novi Sad open
University, the owner and director of TV Duga, a fire security officer, a
doorkeeper and a janitor were arrested after the fire on suspicion of
having committed a serious offence of causing danger to the public. 
Criminal charges will be laid. According to unconfirmed information the
fire broke out on the twelfth floor of the building in the premises of TV
Duga. Seven people were injured in the blaze which, according to Novi Sad
Mayor Stevan Vrbaski, was caused by an equipment malfunction. Vrbaski told
Radio B2-92 that the Novi Sad City Government would assist those who had
suffered and sustained losses in the fire. He claimed that all necessary
licences for the building had been issued by authorised agencies and a
fire prevention licence had been granted a few days earlier. The Novi Sad
Institute for Industrial Construction had warned of possible fire danger
in the building five years ago, said Svetlana Vukovic, a co-author of a
study on the condition and maintenance of the Open University building.

Witnesses reported that the fire spread at lighting speed and confirmed
that the premises of Radio 021, Radio Signal, Belgrade daily Danas and TV
Montenegro, as well as TV Duga and Melos. Novi Sad Radio 021 resumed
broadcasting late last night with the assistance of other members of the
ANEM network. Radio Boom 93 from Pozarevac, Globus from Kraljevo and other
ANEM members would assist Radio 021, said Andrija Rakocevic, the director
o Globus. ANEM chairman Veran Matic called on all the association?s member
stations to show solidarity with Radio 021. Matic also announced that ANEM
would assist Radio 021 to resume operations. ?We?ll try to buy some
essential equipment for Radio 021 during the day,? said Matic, ?We?ve
called on Novi Sad city authorities to find a long term solution for this
station.  ANEM will try to initiate a campaign by international
organisations to help Radio 021.? 


NOVI SAD, April 8, 2000 -- Activists of the Vojvodina League of Social
Democrats last night distributed leaflets in the centre of Novi Sad
carrying a picture of the gutted Open University building and the caption
?Who was annoyed by the Novi Sad Open University?? The leaflet goes on
?Who was annoyed by Radio 021, who was annoyed by daily Danas, who was
annoyed by TV Montenegro? We know the answer. What about you?? The
president of the League of Social Democrats, Nenad Canak, said that the
leaflets were intended to pressure police into identifying those
responsible for the fire. Novi Sad wits today were referring to the fire
with the joke ?If you can?t turn them off, light them up?. 


BELGRADE, April 8, 2000 -- The president of the Serbian Parliament?s
Judicial Committee, Socialist Party of Serbia senior official Goran
Percevic, said today that journalists were welcome at sessions of the
committee. Percevic declined to comment on the banning of representatives
of some independent media from sessions of parliamentary bodies chaired by
members of the Serbian Radical Party. 

Journalists from independent dailies Danas, Glas javnosti and Blic,
newsagencies Beta and Fonet and Studio B Television where thrown out of a
Parliamentary Culture and Information Committee meeting chaired by Radical
Milena Budimir. Representatives of the Socialist Party of Serbia and the
Yugoslav United Left did not respond to the incident. 


BELGRADE, April 8, 2000 -- Federal Telecommunications Minister Ivan
Markovic told a press conference yesterday that he was quite pleased with
his ministry?s action so far in granting frequencies to media in Serbia.
The 120 million dinars in fees collected were being used to pay pensions
and war veterans? allowances, said Markovic, adding that no one could
operate a radio or television station without a licence here or anywhere
else in the world. 


NIS, April 8, 2000 -- Representatives of the municipal public company Info
Nis and Narodne novine announced yesterday that the company?s board of
management had decided that the daily newspaper would not pay 400,000
dinars in fines imposed under the Public Information Act until a ruling
was received from the court of appeal. 

The president of the Nis City Government, Branislav Jovanovic, told a
press conference at Narodne novine that the fine was a continuation of the
regime?s terror and part of a planned scheme to financially exhaust the
independent media. ?We won?t pay the fine. It?s not that we don?t want to
pay the fine, it?s just that we haven?t got that kind of money,? said


BELGRADE, April 9, 2000 ? The deputy president of the Serbian Christian
Democrats, writer Svetislav Basara was released from prison in Brodarevo
on Friday night, the party's secretary-general, Zivojin Stepic, said
today, quoting the local police chief. Brodarevo police had detained
Basara earlier of Friday for questioning and had prevented him travelling
to Montenegro because he was carrying several copies of the party's
publication Serbian Christian Democrats. 


BELGRADE, April 9, 2000 ? The Belgrade regime has used secret channels in
Kosovo and Metohija to establish seven radio stations in the province, the
Democratic Alternative claimed today. "The regime is right on target,"
said a statement from the party, "because Serbs from Gracanica, who are
thus being brainwashed into believing that the Serb National Council and
Archbishop Artemije have betrayed them have threatened they will deal with
this Serbian Orthodox bishop and even destroy the monastery which they
have been told is a hotbed of treason". 

The party describes the propaganda as deception and undisguised
manipulation aimed at absolving real the real traitors of responsibility
for the loss of Kosovo and proclaiming them patriots while actually
labelling their victims as traitors. 


VIENNA, BELGRADE, April 9, 2000 ? The International Press Institute in
Vienna today named ANEM President Veran Matic a hero of the free press.
>From a long list of nominations the global network of editors and media
directors of the International Press Institute named fifty journalists for
their outstanding contribution to the struggle and promotion of free media
over the past fifty years. The editor-in-chief of Sarajevo daily
Oslobodjenje, Kemal Kuspahic, was similarly honoured. 

Matic described the recognition as not being merely symbolic for those
named. "The most important aspect is the fact that on May 3, during the
presentation of the awards in Boston, I will have a chance to describe the
position of journalists in Serbia to world media networks," said Matic,
adding that the award was a great opportunity to promote the international
campaign of support for Serbian media which was launched ten days ago. 


BELGRADE, April 10, 2000 ? The student movement Otpor and the Independent
Association of Serbian Journalists will tomorrow mark the anniversary of
the murder of independent newspaper proprietor Slavko Curuvija. A memorial
service will be held in the Belgrade Media Centre at noon and at 1.00 p.m. 
representatives of the two organisations will unveil a plaque on the site
of the murder in central Belgrade. 

The Association of Serbian Independent Journalists yesterday demanded that
Serbian Minister for Internal Affairs Vlajko Stojiljkovic inform the
public about the results of an inquiry into the murder of daily "Dnevni
telegraf"  owner Slavko Curuvija a year ago. "Mr Stojiljkovic, the shots
in the back and in the head of the journalist Slavko Curuvija were a
criminal attempt to muzzle the Serbian media. The names of the assassins
and those who commissioned this horrible murder will certainly be brought
to light sooner or later. Do everything in your power so that their names
be revealed to the public as soon as possible in the interest of a normal,
human and democratic Serbia", the Association said in its open letter to
Serbian Internal Affairs Minister Stojiljkovic. 


BELGRADE, April 10, 2000 ? Police Brigadier-General Branko Djuric has
brought charges under the Public Information Act against Studio B
Television over an allegedly slanderous broadcast on April 2. 

The charges relate to a story which claims that Djuric had appeared at the
site of a traffic accident in which four Renewal Movement officials were
killed, arriving before the ambulance. Studio B claimed that Djuric had
done nothing either to apprehend the truck driver responsible for the
accident or the driver of the red Volkswagen Golf who had helped the
assassin in his escape from the scene of the crime. Studio B also quoted
the president of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, as saying
that he had heard Djuric tell his superiors by telephone "The scum is
still alive". Draskovic had been slightly injured in the accident. "Now it
seems that the scum was not the truck driver but Vuk Draskovic himself,"
commented Studio B. 

The hearing is scheduled for 11.00 a.m. today, but Studio B has announced
that it will not be represented in the court. "Given the previous mock
trials in which no facts have been investigated or determined before
magistrates hand down verdicts, Studio B representatives will not appear
in the court," the station reported. 

Studio B has already been fined 450,000 dinars on March 7 this year on
charges brought by Djuric under the Public Information Act. Djuric has
also sued the magazine Srpska rec which was fined 450,000 dinars on March


KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, April 11, 2000 -- The first radio station of the Serb
ethnic community in Kosovo, Kontakt Plus Radio, began broadcasting
yesterday. Kontakt Plus is located in the northern part of Kosovska
Mitrovica and reaches an area forty kilometres in diameter. Kontakt Plus
broadcasts a current affairs program in Serbian and the first week of
experimental transmissions will also include music, jingles, and news
programs as well as Deutsche Welle and BBC Serbian services. Radio B2-92?s
main morning and evening news programs are also being carried by Kontakt
Plus. This station is a member of the independent Kontakt Network,
together with stations in Novi Sad, Banja Luka and Pristina and it
collaborates with the Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM).
The proprietor of Kontakt Plus, Zvonko Tarle, told Radio B2-92 today that
the station?s objective was to provide unbiased and up-to-date information
and news to the Serbian community living within its reception ar!  !  ea
and thus break through the media blockade imposed ten years ago by the
Belgrade regime. 


BELGRADE, April 11, 2000 -- Journalists from a number of Belgrade media
were yesterday barred from attending a session of the Serbian Parliament?s
Administrative Committee. The meeting was chaired by Serbian Radical Party
member Dragan Ljubojevic, who demanded that reporters from the dailies
Blic, Glas javnosti and Danas, Studio B Television, Radio B2-92 and news
agencies Fonet and Beta leave the premises. Journalists from some Belgrade
media had previously been barred from attending parliamentary committees
including the Committee for Culture and Information, whose president,
Milena Budimir, is also a member of the Radical Party. 


BELGRADE, April 11, 2000 -- The editors of media outlets whose journalists
had been barred from attending a meeting of the Serbian Parliament?s
Committee for Culture and Information yesterday held a press conference to
protest. Beta Agency Director Radomir Diklic said that this was not the
only instance of depriving the independent media of information: ?The same
applies to announcements and press releases from the federal government,
ministries and the presidency. For the most part they?re unavailable to
us.  All these things concern every one of us and our readers because
decisions are being made there which may have an impact on our lives. Our
society is in such a crisis that we wonder whether tomorrow?s parliament
session will be some sort of a meeting of the ruling three-party coalition
and whether our reporters will be able to enter the premises.? 

The president of the Yugoslav Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights,
Biljana Kovacevic Vuco said that it was dangerous for state organs to
identify themselves with a political party whose leader should be charged
for having called for the lynching of journalists. Nevertheless, she
added, she believed that the principle of legality should be adhered to
even in a state such as this: ?We should take advantage of every legal
remedy and press charges. Even though this may not yield any results at
present, it?s important for the future after the inevitable change of
regime. The trials would be reheard and all of those responsible for such
actions would have to answer for them in a court of law?. 


NIS, April 11, 2000 -- A rally to defend media was organised last night in
Nis by the municipal assembly following the fine imposed on Nis daily
Narodne novine under the Public Information Act. Opposition party leaders
Zoran Djindjic, Vuk Obradovic and Goran Svilanovic, as well as the
vice-president of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Milan Komnenic, the
coordinator of the Alliance for Change, Vladan Batic, a representative of
the student movement Otpor and city government officials addressed the
crowd of 15,000 people gathered in front of the Nis TV building. 

Nis daily Narodne novine was fined 300,000 dinars under the Public
Information Act on April 6, but the newspaper?s board of management
decided not to pay the fine until the court of appeal handed down a
ruling. At an extraordinary session, the City Assembly Executive Board
decided unanimously to distribute 300,000 dinars to families of Yugoslav
Army members killed an wounded during NATO aggression in the Nis area
instead of paying the fine imposed under the Public Information Act.
Editor-in-Chief Miroslav Zupanjevac said yesterday that the paper had paid
an earlier 100,000 dinar fine on time. However, he said, he had received
an official notice informing that he was required to pay an additional
10,000 dinars for late payment.  The charges brought by the Yugoslav Army
against the owner, publisher and editor-in-chief of Narodne novine related
to information published in an article under the title ?Raising Our Voice
Against War? published on February 29. 


BELGRADE, April 11, 2000 -- Belgrade?s Studio B Television and its
director, Dragan Kojadinovic, were today fined a total of 450,000 dinars,
the maximum fine, under the Public Information Act. The fine was imposed
after the broadcaster was convicted of charges brought by Police
Brigadier-General Branko Djuric. The charges related to a story broadcast
on April 3 which claimed that Djuric had appeared at the site of a traffic
accident in which four Serbian Renewal Movement officials were killed and
party leader Vuk Draskovic injured, arriving before the ambulance and
saying to someone on the telephone that ?the scum survived?. 

Studio B was not represented at the hearing, saying that previous court
proceedings had not been used to hear evidence but solely to hand down
convictions and sentences which had been decided in advance. Kojadinovic
said that, by agreement with the Belgrade City Assembly which owns the
station, the fine would not be paid, adding that Studio B was prepared for
the consequences of that decision. 


BELGRADE, April 11, 2000 -- The Serbian Minister for Culture, Zeljko
Simic, has laid charges against weekly news magazine Vreme over an
interview published with a former director of the Belgrade National
Theatre, Nebojsa Bradic, on February 26. Bradic was quoted by Vreme as
saying that he had been dismissed from his position by Simic, who alleges
that the decision on the sacking was taken by the Serbian government.
Simic had already filed criminal charges, demanding 550,000 dinars in
damages, before bringing charges under the Public Information Act as well. 


BOR, April 11, 2000 -- A veteran journalist in the eastern Serbian town of
Bor, Milan Stankovic, has resigned from Radio Television Bor because of
what he describes as the suppression of professionalism and the
humiliating position of journalists in the organisation. RTV Bor is part
of the public company Stampa Radio i Film, whose director, Radoslav
Terzic, is president of the local branch of the Socialist Party of Serbia
and a member of the party?s central committee. ?Given that RTV Bor has
become a propaganda service for the ruling party and its political agenda,
my intention is to regain by this act at least part of my own integrity
and restore some dignity to our profession,? said Stankovic, going on to
say that after spending eleven years with RTV Bor he realised that it was
not proper to fabricate reality in line with the editorial policy imposed
on the station, even if this entailed dismissal. 


NOVI SAD, April 11, 2000 -- A fund has been established to provide
assistance to Novi Sad Radio 021, whose equipment was destroyed in a fire
on April 6. The committee, meeting yesterday at the radio?s temporary
premises, launched a campaign to provide funds for the purchase of a new
antenna so that the radio could again reach all of Novi Sad. Radio 021 is
at present broadcasting from a temporary location using borrowed equipment
and its signal can be received only in the city centre. 


BELGRADE, April 11, 2000 -- The student movement Otpor yesterday
distributed posters to mark today?s anniversary of the assassination of
publisher Slavko Curuvija. The posters parody the front page of Curuvija?s
daily Dnevni telegraf, which ceased publishing after his murder. The
poster also included an Otpor leaflet published by Dnevni telegraf over
which the daily had been fined under the Public Information Act in October


KRAGUJEVAC, April 12, 2000 -- ?There is no media witch hunt and all media
with proper licences which pay frequency fees regularly will be able to
operate without any fear of banning,? Federal Telecommunications Minister
and Yugoslav United Left spokesman Ivan Markovic said in Kragujevac today. 

Markovic told a press conference that RTV Kragujevac had incurred a debt
of 1,234,000 dinars in frequency fees. Instead of paying the debt and
securing their peace of mind, said Markovic, the citizens were guarding
the television station. ?Even God himself won?t help you, you?ll have to
pay one way or another,? warned Markovic. The minister went on to say that
there were eight hundred media outlets in Serbia, an unprecedented
phenomenon world-wide, given the size of the state and its population. Of
these, he added, 168 companies owed 120 million dinars. ?The money is
slowly coming in and we are seizing transmission equipment in accordance
with the legislation until the debts are paid, after which we return the
equipment,? said Markovic. 


BELGRADE, April 12, 2000 -- Family, friends and colleagues of the late
Slavko Curuvija gathered yesterday in Belgrade?s Novo Groblje cemetery for
a commemorative service at the graveside of the murdered publisher of
daily Dnevni telegraf and news magazine Evropljanin. Later, together with
representatives of the student movement Otpor, opposition leaders and city
government officials, they assembled at the Belgrade Media Centre to
honour Curuvija?s memory. Former Dnevni telegraf Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Mitar Jakovlevski, political activist Borka Pavicevic, and journalist
Aleksandar Tijanic addressed those present. Otpor representative Ivan
Marovic read a letter from escaped political prisoner Bogoljub ?Maki?

Otpor and the Independent Association of Serbian Journalists later
unveiled a memorial plaque at the site of Curuvija?s murder in central
Belgrade. The plaque describes Curuvija, who was gunned down at the
entrance to his home, as having been murdered for harsh and critical words
about the regime.  Several hundred supporters, opposition politicians and
city representatives attended the ceremony. The president of the
Journalists' Association, Gordana Susa, called on state bodies to reveal
results of their investigations into the murder so far: "A year ago in
this place, in front of his own home, our colleague Slavko Curuvija was
murdered. Why?"  In the Serbian Parliament yesterday Vojvodina Coalition
President Dragan Veselinov asked parliamentary representatives to pay
respects to Curuvija.  The president of the Parliament, Dragan Tomic,
repeatedly interrupted the minute's silence observed by Veselinov during
his speech.  The International Federation of Journalists and the World
Association of Journalists also called on Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic to have the murder solved and to order an urgent investigation
into last week's fire in Novi Sad which destroyed the premises of several
independent broadcasters and non-government organisations. 


BELGRADE, April 12, 2000 - News magazine Vreme was today fined a total of
350,000 dinars in the Belgrade District Court after being convicted under
the Public Information Act. The charges were brought by Serbian Minister
for Culture Zeljko Simic. Acting director of Vreme magazine Dragoljub
Zarkovic and editor-in-chief Filip Svarm were fined 150,000 dinars each.
"This is the first time that Vreme has been fined under the Public
Information Act and we?re quite surprised at the verdict being delivered
less than two hours after the end of the hearing", said Dragoljub Zarkovic
who went on to say that they would announce today at a press conference
whether or not they would pay the fine. 

At the hearing in the Belgrade District Court the discussion mainly
focused on an allegation from an interview with Nebojsa Bradic by Vreme
journalist Sonja Ciric that Simic, as minister for culture, had taken part
in dismissing Nebojsa Bradic from his post of director of the National
Theatre.  The minister, however, claimed that the Serbian government had
taken the decision on sacking. Lawyers of the news magazine Vreme tried to
prove that Simic had decisively influenced the government to take such a
decision.  Magistrate Slobodanka Drakulic refused the defence lawyers'
request to call Simic as a witness, saying that it would extend the trial

"I wouldn't have entangled myself in something like this had there not
been some insults on the part of the journalists unworthy of any comment",
said Simic who was not present at the trial as he was attending a regular
session of the Serbian parliament. 


NIS, April 12, 2000 -- The Serbian Revenue Administration yesterday
ordered the confiscation of property belonging to Nis daily Narodne
novine. The president of the Nis City Government, Branislav Jovanovic,
called on citizens to rally for the next 48 hours in front of the premises
of the paper in order to prevent the confiscation of property of the
paper, which was recently fined under the Public Information Act. 

Narodne novine?s board of management has refused to pay the fine. Officers
of the Serbian Revenue Administration attempted late yesterday afternoon
to enter the premises with a written order for confiscation of equipment.
They were barred by security from entering the premises. Several hundred
members of the public gathered in front of the building after Nis TV
announced the attempt at confiscation. ?Well move our newspaper to another
place if necessary and Narodne novine will be published as a newsletter,?
said Jovanovic. 


BELGRADE, April 12, 2000 -- The First Belgrade Municipal Court will today
begin hearing charges brought by state news agency Tanjug and its acting
director, Dusan Djordjevic, against independent daily Danas. Tanjug and
Djordjevic are seeking damages of a million dinars, alleging that their
reputation was damaged by the article ?Funeral Without a Patriarch? which
was published in Danas on December 18, 1999 and for which the paper had
already been fined 270,000 dinars under the Public Information Act. 


BELGRADE, April 13, 2000 -- Weekly news magazine Vreme will not pay a fine
of 150,000 dinars imposed under the Public Information Act, the magazine?s
director, Dragoljub Zarkovic, said yesterday. Zarkovic told media that the
state could freeze the magazine?s bank accounts today if it chose. Asked
whether he and Editor-in-Chief Filip Svarm would pay the 100,000 dinar
fines imposed on them personally after yesterday's conviction, Zarkovic
said that they would make that decision once they had consulted their

Responding to a statement given on Tuesday to Radio B2-92 by Zeljko Simic
that he would not have pressed charges had there not been insults in the
contentious article and that journalists had no right whatsoever to refer
to somebody as ?the little one,? Zarkovic said that Simic was in fact
angry because of having been dubbed ?Little? by Petar Lukovic in texts
published several years ago. ?In future we?ll call him Zeljko Simic the
Great,? said the Vreme editor-in-chief. 


BELGRADE, PIROT, April 13, 2000 -- The hearing of charges brought by state
news agency Tanjug against Belgrade daily Danas was adjourned in the First
Belgrade Municipal Court today because the Danas editor-in-chief had not
received a proper summons to appear in the court. Tanjug and Acting
Director Dusan Djordjevic had earlier sued Danas for ?abuse of the freedom
of information and defamation? seeking damages of 1.5 million dinars plus

Charges brought by the Yugoslav Telecommunications Ministry against TV
Pirot Director Boban Nikolic will be heard on April 21 instead of today,
Magistrate Olivera Todorovic told Beta agency. The hearing was adjourned
at the request of Nikolic?s lawyer, Srdjan Mitic, because he was not
available.  Federal telecommunications inspectors Jovica Plavsic and
Slaven Moravcevic recently filed charges in the Pirot Magistrate?s Court
alleging that the public information company Sloboda and Director Boban
Nikolic were operating a local television station without a proper
broadcasting licence. 


NIS, April 13, 2000 -- Slavisa Popovic, the director of Info Nis, said
today that two policemen had tried to enter the premises of Nis daily
Narodne novine after it refused to pay a fine imposed under the Public
Information Act. Security guards blocked the police from entering. ?We?ve
set up barricades inside and outside the building. We?ll defend our
newspaper and continue publishing at any cost,? said Popovic. 

The Info Nis director also said that the paper?s bank account had been
frozen and that payments made into the account were being confiscated by
the authorities. He emphasised that numerous payments were being made into
the account by state companies which had not paid a dinar of their debts
to the daily for years. 

The Nis Committee for the Defence of the Media remains permanently in
session. The committee is comprised of City Assembly members,
representatives of Info Nis, the student movement Otpor and
representatives of labour unions and political parties. The committee
declared today that the Public Information Act was no longer in effect,
and called on all Serbian independent media to boycott the legislation. 


KIKINDA, April 13, 2000 ? An official notice from Miroslav Periz, the
local magistrate, was delivered yesterday to the newsroom of VK radio in
Kikinda informing the defendants that charges brought by Federal
Telecommunications Ministry against the company Info Jet and Zoran
Milesevic, founder and director of this radio station, had been dropped.
The Telecommunications Ministry's allegations had referred to violations
of Article 141, paragraphs 1 and 2, line 1 of the Federal
Telecommunication Act regarding offences such as procuring and operating a
radio station without proper licences. The magistrate explicitly stated
that the charges were dismissed because "the charges had not been filed
against the responsible legal entity". The Federal Telecommunications
Ministry is entitled to lodge an appeal in the Novi Sad Appellate Court
within eight days. 


BAJINA BASTA, April 13, 2000 ? Radio Television Bajina Basta has been
given fifteen days to move from premises it has occupied for more than
five years, the company announced today. The broadcaster, a member of the
ANEM radio and television network, leases the premises from the state
company Drinske Hidroelektrane which provided no explanation for the
eviction notice. RTV Bajina Basta Director Boban Tomic today described the
eviction as classical political repression, adding that someone did not
like the broadcaster stepping up its campaign for defence of endangered

RTV Bajina Basta journalists who tried to contact officials of this state
company were told by their lawyer that the issue was not an eviction
office but a request for the company to sign a new lease contract.. 


BELGRADE, April 13, 2000 - Senior officials of Serbia's ruling parties on
state television last night accused opposition leaders, Kosovo Serb
representatives and the Serbian Orthodox Church of treason. Radio
Television Serbia had earlier invited opposition leaders Vuk Draskovic and
Zoran Djindjic to appear on the program. Djindjic accepted but the state
broadcaster told him late yesterday that it would not be fair for him to
appear alone against the representatives of the government coalition

Zeljko Avramovic, editor of Radio Television Serbia political program,
told Beta news agency that "the idea was that the representatives of the
opposition bloc and three parties of the ruling coalition should appear in
the program. However, since Vuk Draskovic, president of the Serbian
Renewal Movement, refused to take part in this broadcast, we decided to
postpone this particular program until next Wednesday and invite them
again", said Avramovic. 

Commenting on the program "Fifth Column" broadcast by state-run RTS,
Social Democracy official Meho Omerovic strongly condemned what he
described as the announcement of another journalist's assassination. "One
of the guests who is also a Deputy Serbian Prime Minister said, when
speaking of murders and rampant crime on the streets of Belgrade and
Serbia, that Aleksandar Tijanic, a noted journalist, deserved only to be
strongly condemned by every true patriot and, as they said, Tijanic might
even end up murdered. This is an undisguised act of state terrorism". 

When asked why he accepted the invitation to appear on the program after
RTS had cancelled the invitation sent to Democratic Party leader Zoran
Djindjic on the pretext that this program was scheduled for next
Wednesday, Nikola Sainovic, Deputy Federal Prime Minister and senior
Socialist party official, said that the producer of the program had been
unable to ensure the presence of all the invited representatives of the
opposition so that they would appear on RTS some other time. "This is only
a television broadcast. There are so many television stations throughout
Serbia, almost 220 of them, so that anyone can say in public whatever he
likes on one of those media outlets", said Sainovic. 


POZAREVAC, April 13, 2000 ? The Federal Ministry for Telecommunications
today ordered a radio station in the central Serbian town of Pozarevac to
move to a new frequency (FM 93.4 MHz). Radio Pozarevac has been allocated
the frequency formerly used by Radio Boom 93 which was banned on March 8
this year for allegedly failing to satisfy the conditions of a 1998 public
frequency competition. Unofficial reports say that the move was intended
to clear a frequency for Radio Madona, which is owned by Marko Milosevic,
son of the Yugoslav president.. Pozarevac is the home town of Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic and his family. 


BELGRADE, April 13, 2000 ? The director of Belgrade?s Studio B television,
Dragan Kojadinovic, said today that since last night the signal on UHF
channel 51 was being disrupted. This channel was the only one which could
be clearly received without interference for the last eight months.
Kojadinovic told Beta news agency that, according to his and Studio B
sources, jamming equipment had been installed on the roof of the Institute
of Criminology near the Orthopaedic clinic in the Belgrade suburb of


BAJINA BASTA, April 14, 2000 ? The director of independent Radio
Television Bajina Basta, Boban Tomic, said yesterday that a request by the
state company Drinske hidroelektrane that RTV Bajina Basta move from the
premises it has occupied for more than five years was probably politically
motivated.  "We've been using these premises for various activities within
our campaign to protect the independent media, and during the last month
we've enlisted new members, the citizens of Bajina Basta, for the
Committee for Defence of the Media", Tomic told Radio B2-92. 

"Bajina Basta police prevented members of the public from joining the
Committee, which was recently formed as part of RTV Bajina Basta. We
invited the citizens to join us despite that. This is why we suspect that
these actions have a political background. Another reason for our
suspicion lies in the fact that this state company Drinske hidroelektrane,
in agreement with the Serbian Ministry of Finance, has transferred its
income including local taxes it owes to the municipality to the budget of
the republic and thus aggravated the economic situation in Bajina Basta
which is an opposition municipality", said Tomic. 


BELGRADE, April 14, 2000 -- Journalist and former Serbian Information
Minister Aleksandar Tijanic said today that Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav
Seselj, who represented his Serbian Radical Party on last night's
broadcast, was a notorious coward. He invited Seselj to a public debate,
saying he would be happy for that to happen on the state media. Tijanic
also accused Seselj of threatening him with death on the program, warning
that the US intelligence service could carry that threat out.  "I think
that Seselj is the greatest evil that has happened to Serbia since the
Turks came to the Balkans," said Tijanic, noting that "the false duke of
Karlobag, Karlovac, Virovtica and Ogulin" had used the media to call for
his death in the same way that state media had heralded the assassination
of independent publisher Slavko Curuvija last year. Tijanic went on to
say: "If anything happens to me, Seselj should know that no Serbian
journalist would ever forget it and everybody would know precisely that he
were to blame". 


BELGRADE, April 14, 2000 ? Several foreign journalists and representatives
of Spanish labour unions were detained yesterday at Belgrade airport. Four
Japanese, one Canadian and a German journalist as well as three
representatives of Spanish labour unions were detained after having
arrived from Zürich and Vienna at about 2 p.m. The usual customs procedure
was carried out, and all had passports and plane tickets checked, but they
were told that they had to stay at the airport. The Canadian, the German
and the Spanish labour unionists had valid visas while Japanese
journalists do not need visas to enter Yugoslavia. Beta news agency quoted
one of the journalists as saying that they were told they would have to
stay in the restaurant at the airport during the night and leave
Yugoslavia by the first available flight. Beta also reported that a
journalist from the Spanish daily El Pais had also been refused entry and
was deported to Munich by plane despite his having a valid Yugoslav !  ! 


NIS, April 14, 2000 ? The Yugoslav Army said yesterday accused Nis daily
newspaper Narodne novine of deliberately and maliciously politicising the
outcome of a hearing of charges brought by the Yugoslav Army under the
Public Information Act. 

"This case has been artificially placed in a wrong context, a political
one, so that an aggressive media campaign intended to degrade the defence
forces of Yugoslavia and promote an illusion of alleged threats to
opposition-oriented media. We remind the public that mobilisation of
reserve troops is part of regular and planned activities", the Yugoslav
Army stated in its press release. 

Nis magistrate Dragisa Todorovic, ruled on April 6, following the charges
filed by the Yugoslav Army, that Narodne novine should pay 300,000 dinars
in fines, while its editor-in-chief Miroslav Zupanjevac was fined 100,000
dinars. The paper was fined under the Public Information Act over an
article entitled "We are raising our voices against the war again". In the
article, the president of the city government, local Serbian Renewal
Movement leader Branislav Jovanovic was quoted as saying that the army had
been distributing draft notices in large numbers. The management board of
Narodne novine decided not to pay the fine until a higher court ruled on
their appeal. 

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