mediawatch-owner on Thu, 11 May 2000 18:59:15 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> "Special Situation" Draws Planned Regime Response -- ANEM press

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BELGRADE, May 10, 2000 - The Association of Independent Electronic Media
expresses the strongest protest and serious concern at yesterday's arrest
of several dozen citizens, including a large number of journalists in
Pozarevac, Novi Sad, Smederevo and other Serbian cities. 

Police detained activists and members of the student movement Otpor and
journalists from the independent media for questioning. 

Following the arrest of Miroslav Filipovic, the Kraljevo correspondent for
Belgrade daily Danas, Dutch journalists David Godfro and Joel Finks,
together with their translator Dusko Tubic were expelled from Pozarevac
later the same night despite having accreditation and valid working

Shortly after midnight Beta agency's correspondent in Pozarevac, Mile
Veljkovic, was arrested. Police also detained Veljkovic's brother,
Momcilo, and Radojko Lukovic, Otpor activists who had been released
earlier on Monday after being arrested on May 2 over a conflict in the
town with members of the Yugoslav United Left. Also detained were Danas
journalists Natasa Bogovic and Bojan Toncic who were in Veljkovic's house
at the time. 

Later on Tuesday another Danas journalist, Veljko Popovic, was arrested,
together with English journalist Gillian Sandford of the Guardian, then
photographers for Danas and the French agency Gamma, Imre Szabo, Branko
Belic and Dragoljub Zamurovic. 

Novi Sad police detained four journalists and 25 activists for opposition
party youth branches and Otpor. These were arrested while staging a
protest under the slogan "Death to Fascism + Down with Milosevic = Freedom
for the Nation". The activists, and journalists reporting on the protest,
were detained for several hours in the Novi Sad police headquarters
without explanation. Those detained included Television Montenegro
cameraman Bojan Erdeljanovic, two journalists from Novi Sad's Radio 021,
Dragan Gmizic and Zarko Bogosavljevic, Radio In journalist Jovan Djeric
and Radio Free Europe correspondent Marina Fratucan. The journalists were
arrested for the sole reason that they were doing their job and with no
explanation from police. 

In Smederevo, police arrested a cameraman from RTV Pancevo, Sergej Bibic
and a whole television crew from the Mladenovac offices of Studio B,
Editor-in-Chief Milos Maslaric, journalist Jelena Petrovic, cameraman
Novica Dabic and driver Pavle Jesic. In total, 22 journalists and other
media workers were arrested within two days. 

ANEM warns the public that yesterday's operation was a planned response of
the regime for dealing with extraordinary situations. In addition to those
arrested, a large number of other journalists were unable to reach
Pozarevac, and in some instances video tape footage was confiscated. This
is tantamount to banning the reporting of events from the town. 

The signals of both Studio B and Radio B2-92 were so heavily jammed that
it was not possible to follow them and problems occurred on the FreeB92
web site and with mobile telephones. Foreign correspondents found
themselves, for unexplained "technical reasons", unable to use the editing
and transmission facilities of Radio Television Serbia, which is normal

It is clear that the goal was to allow as little information as possible
to reach the local and international public from media not under the
control of the regime. 

ANEM emphasises that it is essential that all independent media and other
democratically oriented forces pool and coordinate their efforts in order
to successfully combat this kind of regime activity because it is
completely clear that similar or worse operations will ensue in any
situation which the authorities regard as critical. 

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