Vladislav Bjelic on Mon, 18 Oct 1999 08:53:06 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Independent daily and printer again in regime firing line; Two awards for ANEM chairman and B2 92 editor-in-chief

ANEM press release

Independent daily and printer again in regime firing line; 
Two awards for ANEM chairman and B2 92 editor-in-chief

BELGRADE, October 15 1999 -- The Association of Independent Electronic
Media in Yugoslavia protests in the strongest terms at the prosecution of
Belgrade printer ABC Grafika.  The proceedings have been launched by the
Serbian Information Ministry under Serbia's notorious Public Information

The ministry has laid forty misdemeanour charges against the printer and
its director Slavoljub Kacarevic over each of the twenty issues of Promene
(Changes), the bulletin of the Alliance for Change opposition coalition. 
The bulletin is printed by ABC Grafika and distributed at the Alliance's
daily protest rallies.  Each of the forty charges is identical and alleges
that the printer has breached the Public Information Act by printing a
public periodical which is not registered with the ministry.  The ministry
has failed, however, to explain how it has been established that the
bulletin is a public periodical rather than advertising material, which is
not required to be registered with the ministry. The charges are scheduled
to be heard on October 20 and 21. 

This new campaign against ABC Grafika and the Belgrade independent daily
Glas Javnosti, which ABC prints, and which is also managed by Slavoljub
Kacarevic, began with the imposition of a fine of 200,000 dinars on Glas
Javnosti in September and was followed by the closing of both companies in
late September and early October and a 270,000 dinar fine on Glas Javnosti
last week after the paper was found guilty of defamation charges laid by
Zoran Lilic, former Yugoslav President and now advisor to Slobodan

ANEM insists that the enforcement of the unconstitutional Public
Information Act represents a breach of the Serbian and Yugoslav
constitutions, both of which guarantee the right to freedom of
information.  ANEM notes that a motion filed a year ago with the Serbian
Constitutional Court to examine compliance of this act with the
constitution has received no response.  The Association reiterates its
demand that the Public Information Act be repealed immediately and that
all who have suffered damage under the provisions of this scandalous act
receive compensation. 

Veran Matic, the editor-in-chief of Radio B2-92 and chairman of the
Association of Independent Electronic Media received two awards yesterday
in Los Angeles.

The renowned Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern
California presented Matic with the inaugural Dean's Medal, awarded for
independent professional journalism despite harsh repression by the state.

At a reception after the presentation, Matic said that independent
journalism in Yugoslavia had "survived under almost all possible negative
conditions and succeeded in keeping its journalists as well as its
editorial offices. The experience of the Yugoslav independent media, both
their successes and their blunders, will certainly contribute to the
development of journalism in general".

Opening the Children Uniting Nations campaign, whose goal is to raise
funds to assist all children in danger in Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro,
Matic spoke of the suffering of the most helpless segments of society,
women children and the elderly, under double sanctions imposed on one hand
by the international community and on the other by the local regime. He
also noted that NATO's military intervention had solved neither
humanitarian problems nor the problems of human rights and democracy.

Matic called on representatives of the international community to assist
in establishing peace in Kosovo in order enable all refugees to return
freely, to help rebuild destroyed homes and to begin abolishing sanctions
so that the weak and innocent might survive.

"Any kind of assistance is welcome and necessary and it can be distributed
without corruption through the democratic structures of cities in which
the democratic coalitions hold power in local government. The children of
south-eastern Europe deserve not only ordinary humanitarian aid but also
assistance with their education and development, so that they may become
integrated into a modern world."

Children Uniting Nations presented Matic with an award in recognition of
his struggle for social justice.

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