Veran Matic on Sat, 13 Feb 1999 10:47:49 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> b92

International Studies Association Conference
February 17-19, 1999, Washington DC
Panel: Virtual diplomacy: the revolution in diplomacy

Authoritarian Society and Information Guerilla: Discovering the Values
of Civil Society with the Help of the Net
(The case of B92)

The history of Radio B92's decade of existence runs parallel to that of
the rule of Slobodan Milosevic, first in Serbia and later in Yugoslavia
(i.e. Serbia and Montenegro). Milosevic's rise to power was greatly
assisted by the media which he controlled after having emerged as a key
figure within the Communist Party. Later, there was only mimicry, again
with the assistance of the media: Communist rigidity was transformed
into nationalist particularism, promotion of the Communist Utopia was
replaced by a mythologisation, one deception replaced another. The
typical one-party system was replaced by pseudo-democracy, a system
which mimicked democracy with a parliament, elections, political parties
and a genuinely authoritarian regime which abhors democracy and has
blocked the creation of democratic institutions.

Then came "the most democratic elections" and the establishment of "the
most democratic system in Europe", by the definition of Slobodan
Milosevic. Democratic impulses were suppressed with police operations
and a monopoly on the most influential media. The first victims fell in
a clash with the authorities during demonstrations intended to achieve
the democratisation of the state-run television network. In the
beginning we won the media war, this would later become an important
part of military operations as well as a major factor in bringing them
to a halt.

The most frequently employed technique in the media war was the
abolition of reality in the media. This became possible through the
explosive expansion of the media, particularly television. The present
was completely suppressed, meaning it could only be interpreted or
defined by referring to the past. Thus the present was being interpreted
as the consummation of the past which in its turn was stripped of facts
and presented in a mythological perspective. The state controlled media
created an edition of reality which had nothing to do with the actual
state of affairs. A war of territorial conquest began as a war to define
reality, a shaky construction of reality the way the state media saw it.
Devastation of towns and irrational destruction were part of the
strategy to annihilate memories and the values of real life before the
havoc began.

The explosion of the media resulted in the suppression of common sense.
Reasoning was transformed into information, comment replaced facts, the
public was manipulated. Reality was entirely annihilated - only the
victims saw the brutal reality. Collective memories were reduced to the
short interval between two pieces of information.

Radio B92 and a number of other independent media outlets were
established as these processes continued. The depiction of genuine
reality through professional news programs came to be seen as
subversion. True information became provocation, dialogue was labelled a
sign of weakness, attempts at conflict resolution and compromise were
tagged as cowardice, attempts to represent the interests of minorities
were seen as a serious sign of genetic defects: to be normal, meant to
be subversive.

In these circumstances the independent sector had to set its own rules
in order to survive. "The most democratic system" lacked the democratic
institutions which would allow Radio B92 to operate legally. This
repression meant that the organisation, in legal terms, did not exist
for almost nine years and operated on an unlicensed frequency. It could
be said, therefore, that B92 could not be banned as, legally, it did not
even exist. Radio B92 managed to survive, assisted by the regime's
frequent underestimation of its importance and overestimation of the
potential reaction of the West.

A ban would be a de facto recognition of our existence. Because of this
the two actions taken against us were not typical bannings. The first
time, we were merely visited at our premises by police. The second time
it appears that "a quantity of water penetrated the transmission
cables". This resulted in a two-day interruption of our broadcasts. In
any case the regime avoided explicitly acknowledging its conflict with
the society by hesitating to openly suppress media until the enactment
of the Public Information Act in 1998.

We avoided the threat of banning by demonstrating what our programs
would look like if B92 were to be taken over by the regime. This
resulted in an outburst of anger and rage by the public which was a
clear message to the authorities that they would encounter strong
resistance in closing down B92. The regime is not always able to
anticipate the consequences of its repressive activities, thus it is
necessary repeatedly to demonstrate what could result from such moves.
This the why B92 strategists have defined the existence of a parallel
life to the existing state of affairs.

The terms democracy, human rights, civil society and independent media
were rapidly compromised by declaring the real world, its
infrastructure, economic prosperity and humanist values, to be unreal -
virtual. The words themselves were no longer enough to educate citizens,
to successfully impart to them those codes through which B92's
programming could be read in reality. It was essential that true and
reliable information was presented as a genuine concern for public
interest and not the result of the work of spies. Words had to
accompanied by action. When we realised that the station could not
survive solely in an electronic medium, we redefined our activities. In
this way B92 became an important part of the civil society movement.
This meant engaging in the protection of minority rights, the promotion
of integration, economic reform, social rights, support for trade
unions, the anti-war movement, human rights, women's rights, freedom of
speech and fighting against commercialisation. With time, some
activities have become independent and have thus been established as
important elements of the civil society: a women's magazine, a literary
magazine, a cultural centre, artists' associations, music production,
the pacifist movement. This is also the first line of defence protecting
our basic activity: the gathering and broadcasting of news and
information, as the most creative elements of the society had come to be
associated with B92: artists, writers, theatre companies, the feminist
movement, contemporary musicians - all them found a creative outlet
under the umbrella of B92. It was always possible to engage these
sectors of society in self-defence projects. In order to avoid abuse of
our profession and to guard against mediocrity, we deliberately
separated out those activities related to the production of our news
programs from all other activities. In this way we have kept our
information and news unbiased and impartial, even at the expense of
Radio B92 itself. At the same time as we broadcast information, we
attempted to educate our audience with the slogan: "Don't trust anyone,
not even us".. This was also a criticism of all monopolies and is an
important point of reference, even for a time when there is no more
repression and no strict police and political control of the media. It
would remain an important reference point if such control were to be
established through other mechanisms (such as commercialisation,
advertising and corporatisation). Through the overproduction of
homogenised news and information the citizens have been plunged "into an
all-embracing vortex of coded messages", with no free time to process or
interpret the flow of information which has engulfed them (Jean
Baudrillard). It was thus necessary to take a specific approach,
observing in the process the rules defined by international peace
researcher Johann Galtung:

1.     "You should shed light on a story from all sides"
Problem: Regime officials avoided speaking to the independent media, in
order to render them biased. This problem was overcome by quoting the
statements appearing in the state-run media and dealing with them in a
professional manner. Our professionalism always assisted us in obtaining
statements from all conflicting parties in the war in the former
2.     "You should provide several sources"
The availability of numerous and diverse sources of information has
always been a matter of necessity for B92's survival. When
telecommunications links are cut and the only information available is
statements prepared by propaganda teams, it is essential to offer
various versions of the same information, including reports from foreign
news agencies. This was an exercise in itself for listeners, who were
forced to make their own evaluation of the arguments.
3.     "Elites should not be used as a source overmuch; rather, various
experts should be sought"
Political elites in Yugoslavia are linked to the media by their very
existence. This may eventually be counterproductive for those of them
who are not in control of those media. Therefore the opposition forces
in Yugoslavia endeavoured to establish their own media outlets. These
transpired to be a exact replicas of state-run media, with the same
monopolistic behaviour. The elites themselves failed to provide any
significant amount of information, but sought to impose their views on
the public, which was counterproductive as well as repetitive.
4.     "The glorification of war technology should be avoided"
Professional information and education in the peace culture was
necessary to combat the cult of heroism and weapons. B92 undertook a
number of anti-war projects and collaborated closely with anti-war
movements and initiatives aimed at disseminating a pacifist culture.
5.     "Extreme visual materials should be used to demonstrate the
atrocities of war"
Graphic visual material was used, mostly by the state propaganda
machine, without warnings to the audience, and thus no opportunity to
protect children or allow sensitive viewers to avoid watching brutal
footage. Such scenes were generally intended to stir up hatred of the
enemy and, quite frequently, of the political opposition and independent
media within the country. The independent media had few opportunities to
obtain such material locally - the only sources of such reports were
foreign television companies. Cooperation with these foreign television
stations and production companies is extremely important, and these
companies should permit the use of video footage by local stations in
Yugoslavia free of charge.
6.     "Sensible and well-written reports on ordinary people should be
When there is a conflict due to dynamic developments, editors tend to
produce programs devoid of reality and containing reports of the
activities of a small number of politicians. Individuality is lost, the
nation and the nation's interests become the major issues. "We" becomes
much more important than "I". Stories about ordinary people suddenly
become subversive.
7.     "You should provide more in-depth reports"
The most common characteristic of the foreign journalist's reporting is
superficiality. Analytical journalism and expert consultation are
indispensable when the answers to the journalist's five Ws (what, why,
who where and when) are not available. It then becomes necessary to add
an S for solution and a C for common ground, or compromise. B92 has
endeavoured to provide an analytical mechanism through its publishing
activities, particularly with the series "Investigative Journalism" and
"War and Peace".. We have published books dealing with the historical
events preceding the conflict, providing explanations of the most
important events and offering possible solutions. By translating the
major works in this field and through an analysis of similar events we
have endeavoured to resolve difficult problems.
8.     "You must be aware that the creators of public opinion want to
turn you into an object of their manipulation"
A war of propaganda machines produces an inevitable effect on people. It
is therefore extremely important to lift the level of professionalism
among journalists, and it is necessary to unmask various forms of
manipulation in order to demystify the mechanisms and to "protect
journalists from being deceived by such manipulations".
9.     "You should avoid treating your work as a subject of reporting"
It is quite difficult to follow these guidelines during a conflict. It
would possible if one's freedom were not restricted by the repressive
state apparatus, and if one were not engaged in two separate activities:
producing quality news programs and simultaneously fighting for the
right to work without interference from the authorities. We have,
nonetheless, mad significant advances by establishing offices and
branches in the country and providing whatever is necessary to reporters
and correspondents to allow them to continue working without
10.     "You should report on and encourage peace initiatives"
We are undertaking part of these programs in collaboration with various
movements and organisations. Together with the Centre for Anti-War
Action we have produced a series of educational television programs
which were part of the television network, and which have also been
bought by international organisations for similar purposes. We also
frequently undertake our own PSA campaigns. This is an effective way of
depicting our whole range or programming (culture, entertainment, music
and so on) in anti-war colours.

These postulates should be accompanied by the following rules (Dr Bruce
Allyn and Steve Wilkinson):
1.     Reports on both sides in the conflict should be accurate, fair
2.     People should be depicted as individuals, rather than as members
of a particular ethnic group;
3.     Reports should be interlinked, rather than covering individual
events only;
4.     You should ask yourself whether self-censorship or repression of
reports by other authors helps reduce violence (the preferred answer
is no);
5.     You should concentrate on processes rather than events only;
6.     You should be educative with regard to ethnic variety;
7.     Readers should be reminded that ethnic problems appear everywhere
and that they should be solved.
The observation of these rules limits our ability to generate revenue
>from advertising, as the audience is seeking entertainment which is
offered in abundance by the state-run and state-controlled media in the
process of promoting a culture of kitsch. The audience is bombarded with
kitsch combined with aggressive propaganda promoting "the just cause" -
this leaves the public incapable of recognising those media which
endeavour to comprehensively protect the public interest.

The "man in the street", moreover, is not inclined to burden himself
with a mindset which sets him apart from the patterned thinking typical
of repressive regimes. The broadcaster which does not devote itself
extensively to entertainment programming automatically loses part of its
audience and thus part of its potential advertising income.
Commercialisation of the media combined with controlled media leads to a
the kind of information age at present typified by the USA. It is
described by Jon Katz as:
"The corporalisation of the news has been a tragedy
for mainstream media and for American society. It undermines
free speech far more than any government action or libel suit
ever could.
The press as envisioned by its American founders --
Paine, Franklin, Jefferson -- was the antithesis of the
modern corporation. It was individualistic, rebellious,
idiosyncratic, and ferociously opinionated. It was expected
to poke, pester, and prod powerful institutions.
That the media should increasingly be consumed by
corporations is perhaps inevitable consequence of capitalism.
But the idea that companies like Westinghouse (CBS), General
Electric (NBC), the Walt Disney Company (ABC), and now
Microsoft could end up controlling the dissemination of news
would have sent journalism's raffish founding pamphleteers
leaping from the top of Independence Hall.."

Although the media in repressive societies and regions plagued by
conflict seem far removed from such a situation, we should nevertheless
think ahead of ways to avoid falling into this trap. It is necessary to
provide long-term support to maintain and further develop such media and
to prepare the ground for boosting the ratings of the electronic media
and the circulation of the print media. The feasibility of this is
demonstrated by Radio B92 which constantly tops the ratings and has
significant influence in Belgrade. In addition the local radio stations
(members of ANEM) which rebroadcast B92 programs are, as a rule, the
most popular in their local regions. This does not mean, however, that
advertising revenue is significantly increased: the economy has been so
thoroughly devastated by the sanctions imposed by the West that there is
little to advertise. Those companies which do advertise their products
or services are for the most part in the hands of the authorities or of
people close to the regime. It took eight years for Radio B92 to
establish a programming concept which reconciles the principles of
professional journalism and the promotion of pacifist, democratic and
civil values with attempts to attract a larger audience. This issue is
addressed in the following chapter.

We have had to adjust our activities to the system by:
1.     Existing in real time and space through professional activities
on a daily basis, and;
2.     The simulation of various activities which unfold in relation to
the virtual reality generated by the regime;
Almost every activity of Radio B92 has been conducted simultaneously on
a number of levels and in different forms, frequently combining the
virtual with the real in the process.

B92 - Internet Service Provider (1993)

When the war began in the former Yugoslavia, the most important military
targets were telecommunications facilities and radio and television
transmitters. Telephone lines were, as a rule, cut off between the
parties in the conflict, imposing an information blockade which opened a
space for manipulation, i.e. establishing the "monopoly on truth". This
was an attack on objectivity.
The lack of reliable information on the most interesting events and
developments - the elimination of the senses of sight and hearing, made
it more difficult to motivate the public for anti-war campaigns.

At the beginning, Radio B92 and Studio 99 from Sarajevo produced joint
radio programs which provided authentic reports from Sarajevo. This
provoked strong emotions among listeners and made it relatively easy, at
that time, to organise anti-war campaigns and projects (the Centre for
Anti-War Actions, Vreme news magazine and B92 managed to organise,
within one hour, demonstrations against the bombing of Sarajevo which
brought thousands of protesters into the streets). Soon after this the
telephone lines were cut, and we were reduced to news agency reports
which had to be confirmed and reconfirmed from several sources. Links to
Sarajevo had to be routed through Paris, Vienna or Milan, meaning that a
single interview would cost as much as the monthly salary of the head of
our news department. (The production of news programs was extremely
expensive during the period of hyperinflation). The only possible means
of communication with people from regions stricken by war was through
amateur radio operators. A large number of these offered their services
in establishing contacts between separated family members and friends.
This was tolerated by the authorities, being seen as humanitarian work,
although still subject to a degree of restriction and repression.

This network of amateur radio operators could be seen as a kind of
mediaeval internet. The code of behaviour of amateur operators did not
permit them to use their equipment for political activities, including
the communication of information which might be used by the media. There
were, however, cases of manipulation and false information, as these
amateur radio operators were not trained journalists - most of them were
people with no skills in the provision of objective information and,
moreover, some of them had political agendas of their own.

The only way to establish a communication channel was to procure
satellite telephones, but international organisations ignored pleas from
B92 and other media organisations to provide the equipment. (It would
have been enough to have one of these each in Sarajevo, Belgrade,
Zagreb, Split, Ljubljana, Mostar, Banja Luka and Zenica, but this idea
was never implemented). In war-torn areas this is often the only
communication channel available and it should by now have become an
integral part of every journalist's equipment.

It had become urgent to find a solution to this problem. That
alternative was clearly the Internet, but there were no ISPs in the
country. Once more we were forced to go through the painstaking process
of establishing a technological infrastructure at a broader level to
allow us to take advantage of the Internet (the process has been similar
in complexity to both our struggle for freedom of speech and our efforts
to adhere to professional journalism).

There were only two other options - either to wait for someone else to
establish the first ISP in the country, or to allow the authorities to
impose their own monopoly on even this completely new medium. Neither of
these options were satisfactory.

Thus, thanks to a Dutch ISP, XS4ALL and the Fund for an Open Society,
B92 became Yugoslavia's first Internet Service Provider. The roles of
our two partners in this project were more than being simply an ISP and
a donor. They were our collaborators in this joint project which paved
the way for various new projects later. Because of its small capacity
our Internet division has never operated commercially - it serves as the
technological base for implementing a series of non-profit projects and
interconnecting the independent media and non-governmental organisation.

The bottom line was that we established a new means of communication and
pre-empted the establishment of the regime monopoly over this medium.

OpenNet gradually became something which Radio B92 had already been for
some time - a medium for minorities, the non-governmental sector,
progressive groups and individuals, alternative artists and anti-war
activists. Radio B92 itself began using the Internet as an entirely new
medium. A news service was established, with our information being
distributed throughout the world via e-mail. News bulletins were now
actually posted on the Internet - a completely new departure. In
addition, reports on human rights records and freedoms in the country
were compiled by B92 and distributed Worldwide.

Soon all of B92's activities were replicated on the Internet:
the radio program is broadcast (webcast) in real time;
the magazines Rec (Word), ProFemina and Media were among the first
electronic magazines in eastern Europe and were available to
potential readers world-wide, who soon took advantage of the
interactive aspects of the medium;
Our cultural centre, Cinema Rex, is establishing the Cyber Rex
project which has opened a completely new domain for artists to
express themselves and implement creative projects;
the publishing division now publishes in electronic form on the
Internet, creating a virtual library with books and articles
available to all;
productions of the documentary film and television division have
been published on the Internet
daily news in English, distributed via the Internet in RealAudio
format is regularly rebroadcast by international radio stations.

The banning of B92 and resistance through the Internet

The regime falsified local election results at the end of 1996.
Democratic opposition parties, united at the time in the Zajedno
Coalition, spontaneously resisted this move by the authorities. Soon the
students joined, and they organised daily demonstrations which were to
last for almost four months, not only in Belgrade but in the greater
part of Serbia. Radio B92 and Radio Indeks were the basic source of
information for most Belgraders: apart from announcements and reporting
of demonstrations there were also live coverage of the rallies and live
phone-ins from Belgrade and the rest of the country. This came in for
criticism from opposition leaders, concerned that people were staying at
home listening to their radios instead of attending the rallies. In late
November Radio B92's signal began to constantly decline in strength. The
transmitter was located among others within the complex of the state
radio and television corporation, so B92 technicians were unable to
investigate the problem. Soon we discovered that our transmissions were
being jammed. This was an obvious foretaste of the ban which was to
follow. Because of the reliability of B92's information, a large number
of foreign journalists relied on our services, but on this occasion B92
itself became the news, as its signal was being jammed and was shortly
to be taken off the air. B92's journalists continued to send out reports
daily to a large number of radio stations in Yugoslavia and abroad.
Meanwhile B92 used the Internet to distribute news and information on
the most recent developments in Yugoslavia through constantly updated
mailing lists and Web pages.

Before the demonstrations began we had been charging a fee for our
Internet services. However this was a limiting factor for many of those
people, both within the country and abroad, who were interested in
receiving news packages from B92. There were also many who were eager to
take part in the ongoing protests, demonstrating their support
regardless of their geographical remoteness.. It was also of vital
importance to draw the attention of and involve the international
public, media, NGOs, influential lobby groups, international
organisations and governments to what was going on in Serbia. The
authorities began to deploy the police force more extensively and it was
important that this information reached as many people as possible. For
all these reasons we decided to distribute our news packages free of
charge and also stepped up our news services in both Serbian and
English. As these packages were designed to look like newsletters if
printed, it was possible to distribute them in that form, which served
the purpose of penetrating the media blockade between Belgrade and towns
outside the capital. These bulletins were also being read aloud in the
squares of provincial towns, as well as being posted on walls and
billboards as wall newspapers. In places without Internet access these
bulletins were printed abroad and distributed by fax back into the
country where they were copied and further distributed by radio,
Internet, fax, photocopier, hand, and reading aloud). Here modern
technology was combined with the traditional, along with subversive
methods of distribution.

OpenNet gradually became s service for the large-scale distribution of
information on both the civil and student protests. The first positive
international responses to the demonstrations came largely because of
the Internet. The students also began to use the Internet through the
Academic Network to report on the latest developments in the
demonstrations. People abroad began to express solidarity which charged
the protesters with new and fresh energy. Creative ideas were exchanged
via the Internet and were soon implemented on the streets, transforming
the demonstrations into genuine media events. The use of the Internet
involved the technical faculties of the University of Belgrade to a
large extent. They became an important part of the process of creatively
shaping the demonstrations and linking to the rest of the world.

Radio B92's transmitter was closed down on December 3, 1996, without
prior warning or any explanation. That day more than a hundred thousand
demonstrators took to the streets and more or less the same number
attended daily from then on, regardless of the weather conditions. Under
these conditions it was very important to react rapidly and find a way
for the station to keep operating in the face of all the odds. Surviving
without broadcasting for three or four days would suffice to inform the
domestic and foreign public and to fight back against the repression. To
this end we contacted our colleagues from VOA, RFE and the BBC to
ascertain how they could help us in distributing our news program. These
stations at the time were broadcasting programs in Serbian on the medium
wave band and via satellite. It took only a few hours to arrange for our
first news program to be broadcast via VOA's transmitter. Our bulletin
was sent via phone and Internet in compressed RealAudio format to
transmitters abroad, from where it was rebroadcast back into the country
on the medium wave band. With the generous assistance of Progressive
Networks, the producer of RealAudio software and XS4ALL, an Internet
Service Provider from Holland, we managed to broadcast live over the
Internet (webcast). Soon RFE joined in what had become a mechanism to
overcome the ban on our radio station. In the process a solidarity
movement emerged which was to support B92 in the face of government
repression. The following day B92 printed supplements which were
published as part of independent daily newspapers and thus distributed
tens of thousands of copies throughout the country. A two-page B92
newspaper was also printed and distributed in the streets. The influence
of B92 was now much stronger than before the ban, rendering it absurd
and counter-productive for the regime. Now the number of demonstrators
increased significantly, the regime's intentions were unmasked and the
demonstrations themselves became the focus of international media

The first wave of solidarity with B92 and the democratic aspirations of
Serbia's citizens became a global phenomenon. International institutions
supporting independent media launched a major campaign. Foreign
delegations arrived to protest the authorities and encourage the
independent media and democratic processes. Kati Marton, the president
of the Committee to Protect Journalists, set out from New York for
Belgrade. Before her flight landed, the bans on Radio B92 and Radio
Indeks had been lifted. Again the Internet had proved how incredibly
rapid and effective a tool it could be in skilled hands. Ms Marton
somehow managed to persuade Mr Milosevic to give a written pledge that
he would not endanger the independent media. The promise, of course, has
not been kept - in fact Milosevic has never kept any promises.

The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the LA Times all reported
that the Internet had saved the demonstrations in Serbia. A new
mechanism for resisting repression had been found and successfully used.
B92 regularised its legal status after nine years of operation by
signing a contract to use a frequency with the state radio and
television corporation. But B92 didn't let the grass grow under its feet
- in a few days a new project to establish a network of local radio
stations using the Internet and satellite technology was launched. ANEM,
the Association of Independent Electronic Media, was born. Not long
afterwards a small consortium of donors was established, ensuring the
execution of this seemingly complex project. This was the first time
such a network had been built and it attracted a degree of scepticism
but in the end sound argument and B92's reputation prevailed. The BBC
World Service provided a satellite channel. Radio B92's signal was
transmitted to London, either by Internet or telephone; from there it
was transmitted by satellite, enabling local radio stations to receive
the program and rebroadcast it. Six months later, in June 1997, the
network was fully operational.. Today there are 33 ANEM associates,
covering 70% of the Yugoslav territory. These stations were not only
rebroadcasting this program but also often themselves becoming a local
focus for development of the civil society. The distribution of
programming was virtually unstoppable. The Internet provides a variety
of solutions to overcome obstruction and interference. In order to stop
program distribution, the regime would have to cut all the telephone
lines connecting this country to the rest of the world. But satellite
phones, in combination with the Internet, could overcome even this

But our Internet link and the available hardware were not able to
transmit video signals in real time, so we had to seek help. Internews
provided that help with its mobile satellite technology. Thus a link to
the outside world was established from the OpenNet premises: a fixed
camera covered the central city square where the daily demonstrations
took place, it's signal could be received by satellite. Special
programs, and statements from demonstrators were recorded and broadcast.
The most important of these were special television productions with
influential international politicians, human rights activists, advocates
of democracy and others as guests on satellite link-up. These programs
were later rebroadcast by local television stations and distributed on
VHS cassettes. OpenNet today has the hardware to produce RealVideo in
real time, but our Internet link is still a limiting factor.

Problems of broadcasting in Kosovo

The only larger territories which B92 and ANEM have not so far covered
with their broadcasts are Kosovo and Sandzak. Despite ample existing
capacity and local production units, the regime does not permit
independent electronic media to be established in these areas. In June
1998, Radio Kontakt, the first multiethnic and multilingual radio
station in Kosovo, was banned after only two days of operation. All
other applicants for frequency licences have been refused by government
agencies, although they have had complete documentation for their

Radio 021 is launching its program via the Internet, which will have an
important role in providing information to people outside Kosovo. In
Kosovo itself, however, the public is able to receive news only
indirectly, by its inclusion in broadcasts from abroad which are able to
transmit into Kosovo.. We have overcome this problem by obtaining a
frequency licence in Montenegro for an area close to the Kosovo border.

The ruling regime in Montenegro (one of the two republics in federal
Yugoslavia) demonstrated willingness to undertake the democratisation
during the course of last year. The Montenegrin leadership has openly
criticised Slobodan Milosevic and his apparatchiks. Their information
laws are much more liberal and they are far more willing to interconnect
to the rest of the world and become part of it.

We were granted a frequency licence and erected a transmitter for FM
broadcasting at 5Kw, 2,200 metres above sea level. The program for
broadcast is relayed to the transmitter via BBC satellite. For the first
time, Albanian-language news programs produced in Kosovo by Radio Koha
and Radio 21 cover almost a third of Kosovo's territory. The program
produced in Pristina is transmitted to B92 via the Internet then
forwarded by leased digital line to London from where it is relayed via
BBC satellite to our transmitter in Montenegro and broadcast. By the
spring we will cover all of Kosovo. In addition to these programs, Radio
B92 news packages, programs from the banned Radio Indeks, BBC programs
in both Serbian and Albanian, as well as B92 news in English are being
broadcast. This is important for informing verifiers of the most recent
developments. This is the first independent program which defies the
media monopoly of the Serbian regime as well as the corresponding
monopoly of separatist Kosovo Liberation Army stations (combined with TV
Shquiptare programming, broadcast from Tirana for Kosovo).

These programs may also be received in Sandzak, which is also a
breakthrough given the media blockade of this heavily Muslim-populated

This mechanism for program distribution could also be implemented here.
In this way we have local colour, as part of the program is produced in
broadcast area and distributed together with programs produced in
Belgrade and London. Thus there are more sources of reliable information
and new opportunities to mount broad and comprehensive anti-war
campaigns which could reach all citizens, regardless of their ethnic

OpenNet is not just a typical ISP - our Internet division has already
carried out a number of projects:
training courses for independent media personnel;
training courses for personnel from NGOs which have been
passing on knowledge and experience to other centres in the world,
particularly in undeveloped regions;
training courses for those who are generally considered to be
unable to adapt to new technologies (more than a thousand pensioners
have completed our training courses in order to communicate by e-mail
with their grandchildren, scattered all over the world following a
decade of emigration from Yugoslavia);
training for artists and the provision of technical services for
artistic projects;
the distribution of newspapers to other towns in order to overcome
bans and problems printing some dailies (e.g. Danas) in Belgrade - in
this way it is possible to print a newspaper in almost any of the
small print houses throughout the country;
publishing banned newspapers on the Internet; we have already
applied this strategy to banned radio stations, saving these media
>from closing down. This is extremely frustrating for the repressive
apparatus of the regime; furthermore a new media team of fr
eedom-of-expression activists is established to take advantage of the
new technology;
designing Web presentations;
designing software for interactive Web applications;
preparation of audio and video material for Web publishing and live
transmissions via the Internet;
through our Internet classrooms, providing Internet access to those
who do not own a computer;
consulting, designing custom software and other technical support
in establishing new Internet classrooms;
compiling digital archives of our radio shows;
transport, installation and configuration of computer equipment and
software for independent media;
establishing a strategy of protecting OpenNet by:
a)     encrypting the contents and attachments of e-mail message;
b)     using various technologies to defy censorship by overcoming
blockades of our news and presentation sites on the Web;
c)     establishing a server network abroad;
d)     designing a strategy to preserve any endangered electronic or
print media outlet and a strategy to protect and maintain OpenNet in
the event of its operation being jeopardised.

The attempt to filter OpenNet

One of the fiercest waves of repression during 1998 hit Serbian
universities, whose autonomy was abolished by the Serbian Government's
Universities Act. The first move of the newly-appointed management of
the School of Electrical Engineering, was to dismiss the head of the
computing centre, Ms Srbijanka Turajlic. Ms Turajlic had controlled,
directly or indirectly, all the key resources of the University's
computing network, including Internet communications. Web presentations
demonstrating the University's autonomy and recording the role of
students and teaching staff in the student and civil protests of 1996-97
were immediately changed. Even the "Who is Where" service, which
provided information on the whereabouts of graduates from the School of
Electrical Engineering around the world was taken down. Shortly
afterwards the censorship of content accessible through OpenNet began.
Because of this, teaching staff and students were unable to access Radio
B92 news via the academic network or read web presentations on OpenNet.
The only justification cited publicly for this was that a link from had allegedly led to a site containing an edited photograph
of the new deans and deputy deans of the School of Engineering. OpenNet
immediately and successfully called for international solidarity which
resulted in the establishment of mirrors for these sites which enabled
access to them.

Operation under a blanket ban

In societies such as Yugoslavia today it is prudent at all times to
expect the worst - a blanket ban on all media. It is therefore essential
to have backup mechanisms in place for such circumstances. It would be
impossible to arrest all who work with new information technologies.
Radio B92 has prepared several contingency plans for such circumstances.

The simplest is to network the points from which information originates
with the help of a satellite phone, a laptop and a CD recorder and
player. This equipment enables the distribution of programs outside the
country, where a special team would process the contributions received
and package them into shows which would then be transmitted to satellite
via a similar mechanism. From the satellite, the programs would be
relayed to transmitters just outside the Yugoslav borders, with the
capacity to cover the greater part of Yugoslav territory. This process
requires minimal equipment and is very mobile.

It should always be borne in mind that it is essential that programming
originates inside the country. Programs in Serbian produced by
international broadcasters carry the handicap of being foreign, arousing
suspicion and reservations in the audience.

A frequent problem in war circumstances is the impossibility of on the
spot recording including video footage, always essential for any
television station. For this reason we are giving strong consideration
to the possibilities that would be opened up by including a DV camera
with the satellite phone and laptop. This would permit video footage to
be distributed rapidly throughout the world. On the spot video images
are one of the strongest motivating factors and this could be used not
only for professional reporting but also for anti-war campaigns.

The Alternative Academic Teaching Network and the possibilities of
education via the Internet

As well as the new Public Information Act, which has put the survival of
the independent media at risk, 1998 in Serbia saw the enactment of the
Universities Act which completely abolished the academic autonomy of
Serbia's universities.

The Act incited a quiet rebellion in a number of university faculties.
The regime's reaction was predictable -- faculty deans have begun to
dismiss teaching staff. Four members of the student movement Otpor
(Resistance) were imprisoned for ten days for drawing graffiti in

Sacked teaching staff have established the Alternative Academic Teaching
Network, aimed at constructive resistance as well as providing teaching
complementary to the current curricula, lest the students should be
deprived of lectures by some of the eminent experts who have been
dismissed from their posts.

The Internet is a very useful medium in solving problems related to
"institutionalisation" (premises, teaching instruments, etc.), in such
circumstances. By linking lecturers and students, the Internet can help
implement a major part of the teaching process, without traditional

The Internet offers a variety of new possibilities, such as permanent
contact, conferences, discussion which are not subject to the time
constraints of a lecture and the ability to use time more efficiently.

Of particular benefit is the fact that students and teaching staff are
able to use a number of international data bases, leading to the
acquisition of new information. This was limited in traditional lectures
which did not make use of computers and the Internet. This would also
help alleviate the problem of the years during which appropriate
international magazines and modern literature have not been accessible
to either teaching staff or students because of international sanctions
against Yugoslavia and the economic collapse of the country. The use of
Internet would enable a more dynamic and cost-effective (no travel
costs) teaching process involving international experts in various
disciplines. The current limiting factors include the lack of
cooperation from the University of Belgrade with the international
university centre and the process of the society's self-isolation and
the refusal of visas to foreign guests. At the beginning of January 199,
the Nobel Prize winner, John Polany, and two other leading academics,
Jonathan Fenton and Richard Rorty, were unable to attend the launch of
the Alternative Academic Teaching Network because the were refused
visas. The three academics had also been scheduled to give lectures and
meet the teaching staff and students of the Alternative Academic
Teaching Network. Two months earlier, visa refusals also led to the
postponement of the Media for a Democratic Europe conference organised
by Radio B92 and ANEM under the auspices of the secretary-general of the
Council of Europe. The conference was held a month later after strong
international pressure on the Yugoslav authorities. Had they persisted
in hindering the conference, Radio B92 had planned to mount it on the
Internet, with video and audio conferencing which would have enabled
those who had been refused visas to participate. In combination with the
traditional conference this would have achieved the same results.

In the case of the Alternative Academic Teaching network, similar
mechanisms apply, even when there is no visa problem, the goal in this
case being to reduce costs. Students and teachers of international
universities can deliver, attend or read a lecture, ask questions and
give answers. The use of the Internet not only provides the transmission
of knowledge which is the function of education but also gives students
and teachers essential skills in the use of this new medium and
everything else which it makes possible.

This is only one of the ostensibly secondary effects of the use of the
Internet, but it has genuine significance in the movement to resist the
society's self-isolation.

Strengthening the infrastructure through pyramid distribution

OpenNet has prepared a hierarchical distribution project which would
involve local radio and television stations developing Internet use at
the local level, using OpenNet's resources. Local stations would thus
have the opportunity of strengthening their own communication
capacities, raising revenue from commercial subscriptions, multiplying
the media promotion of other phases of their work at the local level and
assisting the development of the civil sector by providing Internet
access to individuals and local groups engaged in the development of the
civil society. This builds the resilience of the media in repressive
surroundings and provides another channel for broadcasting and
distribution of local news with maximum exploitation of the new

Creation of networks

Radio B92 is involved with a number of international organisations
and associations. Through the Internet this involvement has gained in
intensity. In this way a number of international professional
networks have been created:
The networks of independent local radio and television stations
have, in addition to the satellite networking, been provide with the
opportunity for Internet and digital networking. As a spontaneous
by-product, a vast amount of information is now being exchanged daily
- this is virtually a new news agency;
The network of groups for the protection of the independent media
in Yugoslavia -- The Free 2000 Committee -- has been able to
coordinate the efforts of a number of international organisations to
avoid unnecessary duplication and increase efficiency;
The network of individual solidarity with Radio B92 through the
"400,000 for B92" project which raised funds for the radio's new
The network of non-governmental organisations which exchange
information on their activities and their results on a daily basis.
This has increased their transparency and, in many cases, their
ability to defend themselves;
Networks of institutions and individuals who have been subject to
repression by the abolition of the autonomy of the universities (new
education opportunities via the Internet);
A network of related institutions from the former Yugoslavia,
facilitating the coordination of effort on related projects -
particularly those which relate to humanitarian issues (such as
refugees and displaced people);
The Internet also enables the rapid creation of networks around ad
hoc projects.

Opportunities for overcoming the problems of banned print media -
desktop publishing

The enforcement of the new Serbian Public Information Act, with rushed
court proceedings, enormous fines imposed on the owners and editors of
print media and the urgent collection of these fines has forced a number
of Serbian dailies to register their businesses in Montenegro in order
to avoid the enforcement of the new Serbian legislation. This has been
only partially successful: the affected Belgrade dailies are able to
print in Montenegro, but have problems distributing in Serbia as their
consignments are confiscated at the border or from distributors. As a
result, a very limited number copies reach Serbian towns.

In this way the printing and distribution of Dnevni telegraf has been
almost completely brought to a halt, while other dailies has been
limited to smaller circulation and a more costly production process.

Local Press is an association of local and regional newspapers. Some of
these have significant circulation and are the most influential
publications in their respective regions. The association is networked
via the Internet. This enables the coordination of campaigns against the
new law on information as well as facilitating the distribution of news
agency services and exchange of stories. Some of these newspapers have
their own small printing houses. These printers have enough capacity to
be used for a limited period to bridge the printing problems of the
Belgrade dailies in exile. Persistent resistance to the ban is essential
in discouraging the regime or forcing it to embark on an even wider and
harsher repression which would in turn result in more serious resistance
and international reaction. A dozen or so of these printing houses are
available for this kind of activity.

Newspaper content would be prepared in Belgrade (the preparation of
texts is not liable to suppression). They would then be sent via the
Internet to each of the print houses which would then produce enough
copies for the region it serves. In circumstances of extreme
restrictions, where even this circulation would be confiscated, the
Belgrade newspaper could bear the name of the regional newspaper whose
printing house it uses, or appear as a supplement, retaining its own
visual identity.

The next step would be to establish an independent local distribution
network, if such does not already exist. This could operate on a
commercial basis. If the repression increases, the local activist,
non-governmental organisations, branches of democratic political parties
and institutions for alternative culture could establish an underground
distribution network. This network, apart from distributing daily
publications would paste copies of the newspapers on walls at central
points in their towns (as students have already done in Belgrade) and to
hand out news as leaflets and produce posters and other materials to
promote freedom of speech and resist the repressive laws and operations
of the regime.

The local population should also be able to read banned newspapers at
the local cyber cafe, the local alternative culture centre, the Open
Club, the local non-governmental organisations, discos, trade union
offices and student organisations. Local radio stations which are
already networked can broadcast the contents of banned newspapers - as
Radio B92 and ANEM are already doing on their daily satellite broadcasts
- and advertise the distribution centre and coordinate the activities of
all groups involved.

The potential of local newspapers is often underestimated and some of
them in Serbia (Borske novine, Onogost standard) have suffered frequent
reprisals, as well as operating in hostile circumstances, unlike the
relatively privileged position of the press in the capital. The Belgrade
dailies have not yet taken advantage of the opportunity of strengthening
their position in the interior of Serbia by professional and business
cooperation with the local newspapers. This could improve the media
coverage of the cities and region in the central daily newspapers, while
the local publication would have professional and business support and
distribution as a supplement of the Belgrade daily press. (This gives
the advantage of reduced costs and increased circulation.)

The mutual benefits of networking local and regional newspapers with the
Belgrade dailies, as well as the need to oppose repression are strong
motivations for the establishment of desktop electronic publishing,
alternative distribution and efficient networking of all institutions,
movements, groups and individuals involved in the process of
establishing democratic processes, democratic institutions and free
media. Apart from the obvious additional strength of a united
resistance, such associations could lead to new remedies for some of the
print media's current shortcomings: the globalisation of these media and
the content they carry have led them away from local news and
information about events outside the capital (apart from the crime
columns). These remedies could include more efficient, ongoing, training
projects. The local and regional newspapers would be able to prepare for
the coming digital era and acquire the skills needed to reform
traditional media and communications. Local newspapers would also have
little difficulty in acquiring a share of the global news. Links with
non-governmental organisations and movements could provide protection
against the repression they can all expect.

This kind of cooperation could bring concrete benefits: non-governmental
organisations would improve their publicity coverage through their own
communication systems (which must be established to reduce their
vulnerability, regardless of the current circumstances; the media would
be better acquainted with progressive ideas and activities of
non-governmental organisations, and: joint investigative projects could
be undertaken as well as the joint promotion of universal principles and
social campaigns.

In addition to the alternative mechanism, it is essential that an
independent printing house be established through foreign investment,
which appears to be the safest mode of ownership in Yugoslavia. Such a
printing house should be available on equal terms to all independent
media and should function on the traditional commercial basis, its
survival not linked to the commercial success of the newspapers it
prints. The revenue thus generated should be reinvested into the
development of the print house.

It is also essential that an independent distribution network be
established which would operated independently of the existing
newspapers, and would be available to al independent newspapers on equal
terms. The capital for the distribution network could be partly secured
through foreign investment. This network must also be commercially
based, and again profit should be reinvested into the development of the
network, so that the original capital contribution is not dissipated.


Some segments of society are resistant to new technologies, usually
because of the lack of modern education, the prevalence of dogmatic
ideas and the desire for self-isolation. Every non-democratic society
strives to block the flow of new ideas. The Internet is anathema to such

In the late nineteenth century, when the first railway in Serbia was
being planned, resistance to this innovation was based on the argument
that a Serbia crossed by railways would be easy prey for various
international influences. Similar arguments are now being heard against
the use of new technologies and the Internet in some parts of Yugoslav
society. Typical of these arguments is that of the Russian scientist and
cleric, Abbot Antoni Byerestov, who claims that "contact with that world
[the world of virtual reality] is inadmissible for Orthodox Christians".
Byerestov writes: "The danger is spiritual, as there is no place for God
in such a world; rather it gives a platform to the devil. It develops
carnality and stifles spirituality. Man gives in completely to his
passions rather than struggle against them. The technology of virtual
reality has created so-called cybersex, which allows computerised
onanism and sexual perversity to replace natural physiological
intercourse between man and wife". (published in Svetigora, summer 1998;
Abbot Antoni Byerestov has a PhD in medical sciences and teaches in the
department of paediatric neuropathology at the Russian State Medical

The Serbian nationalist agenda includes views such as: "Building urban
communities dependent exclusively on sophisticated technology and high
energy consumption is conducive to the creation of an effete [and
spoilt] population, predisposed to surrender, disgrace and defeat for
the sake of preserving its level of consumerism. Serbs must design and
manufacture the simplest and most resilient machines and tools which may
be operated and maintained by individuals with an ordinary level of
technical skill. The introduction of sophisticated technology [which
requires more highly-skilled personnel] when that is not absolutely
necessary, with the import of licences, spare parts and raw materials,
is tantamount to creating the conditions for loss - first of
self-respect, then of national sovereignty... "(Proposed Serbian
National Agenda, Momcilo Selic, 1997).

The widespread and versatile use of the Internet in a way which
liberates certain segments of society - by opening up the tightly sealed
space for communication and eliminating communication restrictions - has
changed the Church's stance on the Internet. The isolated Kosovo
monastery of Visoki Decani has, thanks to Abbot Sava, become a true
information centre, disseminating information on events occurring in
that isolated territory, to which war has restricted physical access.
Apart from information giving another perspective on the reality of the
region, Decani broadcasts the desire of part of the Serbian population
to be involved in the peace process and the message of genuine
opposition to the behaviour of state agencies. It has also produced
proposals for genuine peace processes, statistics on the number of Serb
refugees and publicised the need for humanitarian aid.

On many occasions the Internet has been the only way in which the
monastery community and Serbs in the region have been able to obtain
information. Thanks to Father Sava and his use of the Internet to
promote a different concept of peace and democracy, the stereotype of a
Serb people united in mischief has been considerably weakened. The
Visoki Decani monastery has virtually become a news agency, providing
reliable information and opinions which deserve to be heard and
analysed. A number of international news organisations, including the
New York Times, have acknowledged the importance of Father Sava's work.

Thanks also to Father Sava, the dogmatic view of the Internet is
changing daily within the church. The celebration of the Feast of St
Sava (the founder and patron saint of education in Serbia) was this year
broadcast live on the Internet for the first time, as well as being
carried on Radio B92 and ANEM via satellite. The celebration included
audio and video bridges on the Internet to representatives of the
Serbian Orthodox Church throughout the world, allowing a global
congregation to participate with the help of RealAudio and RealVideo.
The satellite links allowed the program to be distributed to those radio
stations in the region which wanted to broadcast the celebration. Thanks
to this kind of use of the Internet, even the dogmatists have been
forced to change their views and subsequently their behaviour.


In societies under dictatorships, pseudo-democracies,
unconsolidated presidential systems or democratic transition, the
independent media and organisations engaged in emancipation,
liberation, the struggle against censorship and for democratic
processes must be given maximum support for communication mechanisms
in order to open the widest possible channels for information
exchange among various groups[2];
These mechanisms also serve as a back-up form of operation in cases
of repression;
There must be systematic identification of those mechanisms which
may be put at the permanent disposal of the independent media and
democratic institutions to secure their victory over censorship and
their survival in the current hazardous circumstances. (Available
land and satellite frequencies - lifeline frequencies - need to be
similarly identified). It is essential that this project be
institutionalised within the framework of international bodies such
as the United Nations (the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees), the Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, international and national non-governmental
organisations, by incorporating measures to oppose censorship
restrictions to the growth of democracy into their own projects and
Domains should be registered and web sites created which aim at
opening societies, resolving conflicts, combating censorship and
creating societies which are both politically and economically
liberal; these should be at the disposal of institutions which face
restrictions in the promotion of these ideas in their communities;
Citizens, especially those in mixed societies, or societies where
conflict is imminent, must be provided with access to electronic mail
free or as inexpensively as possible;
The use of the Internet as a "democratic technique" (Mumford)
should be promoted and encouraged; this is essential for dogmatic and
conservative groups and organisations;
Extensive training programs for various segments of society should
be implemented according to their specific needs and demands in order
to make this use of the Internet as efficient as possible; special
attention should be paid to the problem now facing many
non-governmental organisations which do no know how to use the
Internet to promote their work and campaigns; the underlying problem
is often not the lack of technical knowledge or infrastructure but a
lack of understanding of the Internet and the ways in which it
promotes information; the most effective training in this case is
through successful examples (such as Radio B92);
Post-communist societies are often and most easily educated through
popular culture, thus the best approach to training is to mix
entertainment and education ("edutainment");
Teaching via the Internet is vital in closed societies where the
education sector is non-existent. This would facilitate a number of
education programs while students and lecturers would be able to
observe international trends, which would compensate for the lag
resulting from the isolation of the state and its education system;
A prominent place among education projects should be given to
courses in ethics on the network; these should also promote the
freedom to give and receive information; "Only the correct use of
media can avoid dangers; only journalists, if they discover this
forgotten or lost responsibility and play their role of mediator
fully, the role of scrupulous agents in mediation, can enable others,
scientists, artists and politicians, to preserve true independence
and acquire an even more autonomous set of idea; without this their
freedom will decline from the level it has reached, without this each
of them would face the withdrawal into isolation which would lead not
only to their disappearance but also to the defeat of the efforts
they represent."[3] Ethics on the network are important in order to
reduce or eliminate cyber wars, such as the series of recent
showdowns between Serbian and Croatian hackers. First a group of
Serbs calling themselves "The Black Hand" destroyed a couple of web
sites run by Albanians in Switzerland. The same group then destroyed
the site of the Croatian daily Vijesnik, which provoked Croatian
hackers in return to destroy the site of the National Library of
Serbia, which led to the destruction of the Rudjer Boskovic
Institute. A truce ensued, probably inspired by nothing more than the
feeling of senselessness of such a war. No official agency responded,
there was only the general support these groups received from their
respective communities, which have long been accustomed to both
classic and media wars.
The establishment of professional networks and live communication
among various networks in order to develop new forms of solidarity
among the imperilled should be supported. Those in jeopardy can, if
united, give great encouragement to the development of democratic
processes while securing the vitality of the media, movements and
institutions suffering repression.
"[Communication networks] enable citizens to squeeze the slave out
of themselves, drop by drop. Theyhelp them to cultivate the virtues
of democratic citizenship: prudence, judgement, eloquence,
resourcefulness, courage, self-reliance, sensitivity to power, common
sense. Communications networks renew the old insight that the
decentralisation of power is sometimes the most effective cure for an
undue parochialism; that through involvement in local organisations,
citizens overcome their localism"[4];
A variety of youth groups should be assisted in gaining as much
access as possible to the Internet. Exactly because it is difficult
to re-educate citizens in the post-Communist era, this is a kind of
shortcut as the young are by nature eager to follow world trends and
xenophobia can be reduced even through entertainment. The best
example of this is the student movement during the 1996-97 civil
protests. The skilful use of the Internet by the students reflected
their imagination and their cosmopolitan outlook;
Multilingual mega-databases on issues likely to cause conflict
should be created in order to provide a central hub of all relevant
information which can provide a thorough understanding of the
conflict and in order to assist in defining a strategy for its
resolution. One example of such a mega-database is a site about
Kosovo currently in preparation by B92; this will offer as much
material as possible, in both Serbian and Albanian, and attempt to
create a forum on the possibilities for resolving the Kosovo
situation. As John Keane has put it, "The fight for a democratic
media is an ongoing project without ultimate solutions. It is a fight
for a type of society which is bound to produce more than its share
of dissenters, because it is endowed with more than its due
conscientious objection to infallibility.[5]"


Satellite, the Internet and ISDN lines help to establish networks of
mutually interconnected core communities integrated from within.
Advocates of indigenous democracy see these core communities as the best
protection against manipulation by transnational media corporations, in
this case state restrictions, and against the blocking of the
communication process. Radio B92 and ANEM are examples of an important
additional role played by these interconnected communities in the
process of liberating the Yugoslav societies. This is the stand against
the flood of "trash culture" from the West, and against kitsch and
ruthless commercialisation devoid of any progressive media function.


[1] "In countries where authoritarian rule has crushed free expression
people cherish any opportunity to make alternative voices heard, often
at risk to their lives. Throughout the Soviet era the Voice of America,
Radio Free Europe and the BBC became information lifelines for
beleaguered citizens of communist countries. But after communism
crumbled, it was still difficult for notionally democratic regimes to
accept the complete freedom of communication that citizens, leaders and
observers of Western diplomacies take for granted. In Serbia, Slobodan
Milosevic brooked no criticism of his government, and when opposition
parties started to win electoral victories in Belgrade he overturned the
results. Milosevic knew that controlling the media gave him a continued
edge. State-run TV and radio parroted the Milosevic line in all
broadcasts, but a few brave, determined people demonstrated that freedom
is a force that cannot easily be held in check. They operated the radio
station B-92 and started broadcasting opposition to Milosevic. He tried
to shut them down, but the world was watching. Radio Free Europe and the
Voice of America offered to rebroadcast the weak, wavering signal, and
after a brief interruption in service, Milosevic had to let the station
back on the air. The signal was piped onto the Internet and soon the
official media's monopoly was over." James Adams, The Next World War,
Hutchinson, London, UK, 1998

[2] "In a paper prepared for a conference of U.S. military and
intellingence experts, Dr. Elin Whitney-Smith, a director of Micro
Information Systems, Inc., has agrued, as we have in our own work over
the years, that wide access to information and comunication is a
predcondition for economic development. Since poverety is no friend of
peace,she proposing using " our military and the power of the digital
revolution to get as much information and information technology out to
the rest of the world [as possible] so that poeple in underdeveloped
nations can become part of the global community...
In the interests of national security we need to use this knowledge to
bring prosperity to the rest of the world before all its poeple become
immigrants, refugees, or pensioners of the West". Alvin and Heidi
Toffler, War and Anti-War, Little Brown, 1993

[3] Francis Balle, Le mandarin et le marchand -- Le juste pouvoir des
medias, published in Serbian by Clio, Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia, 1997

[4] John Keane, The Media and Democracy, Polity Press, Camebridge, UK,

[5] Ibid
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