tomislav longinovic on Wed, 17 Mar 1999 17:57:42 +0100 (CET)

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[Message forwarded by  Patrice Riemens <>]

ANEM press release


Belgrade -- March 13, 1999

The Association of Independent Electronic Media in FR Yugoslavia (ANEM)
today warned that the latest governmental crackdown on the media though
the enforcement of the new Serbian Law on Public Information has assumed
alarming proportions. ANEM pointed out that over the past six days there
have been six verdicts passed down to media outlets, each of them found
guilty and either fined or its journalists sentenced to prison, with two
more trials still underway. 

In one of the trials, Chief Editor of Somborske Novine Slobodan Jerkovic
was fined with 40,000 dinars (approximately US$2,500) after being found
guilty in a dispute with the newspaper's staff. 

ANEM strongly urged all journalists who condemned the new Serbian Public
Information Law to refrain from seeking its enforcement. 

On March 13, sentences were handed down to Belgrade's independent dailies
Danas, Glas Javnosti and Blic, who were found guilty in a trial initiated
by Belgrade's City Secretary for Culture, Ljiljana Blagojevic.  The
Dangraf company, which publishes the daily Danas, was fined with 250,000
dinars (app.  US$16,000) while the daily's Chief Editor Grujica Spasovic
was fined with 150,000 dinars (app.  US$10,000).  The daily Blic was
ordered to pay a 150,000-dinar fine and its Chief Editor Veselin Simonovic
a 70,000-dinar one (app.  US$5,000).  Glas Javnosti was fined with 100,000
dinars (app. US$6,500), its Chief Editor Milan Becejic with 50,000 dinars
(app. US$3,200).  All three newspapers said that they had no way of paying
the fines but that they would continue to publish without any changes in
their editorial policy. 

ANEM deplores that the trial was initiated by a delegate of the Serbian
Renewal Movement (SPO), a party that had condemned the Serbian Law on
Information and announced upon joining the Yugoslav Federal Government
that it would push for a new and more liberal Yugoslav Federal Law on
Public Information. 

The third set of trials, against Albanian-language newspapers has resulted
in an 800,000-dinar fine (app.  US$50,000) handed down to the daily Kosova
Sot, which was on March 13 found guilty of calling for violence and
dissemination of ethnic hatred.  Trials against Gazetta Sqiptare and
Rilindja are still under way. 

Allowing that certain measures against media outlets which openly call for
violence and disseminate ethnic hatred may be necessary in order to
alleviate or eliminate the impact of such hostile activities, ANEM,
however, disbelieved that the enforcement of the Serbian Law on Public
Information guaranteed that the punished media outlets did indeed
disseminate ethnic hatred and intolerance, as the law does not provide
them with a chance to defend themselves.  ANEM also warned that this
development would be harmful to Yugoslavia's position in the negotiations
on a political resolution of the Kosovo crisis. 

ANEM urged the authorities to repeal the repressive Law on Public
Information and to cease with its application in Kosovo and the rest of

Coupled with the outrageous 5-month unconditional prison sentences passed
on the owner and two journalists of Dnevni Telegraf, these recent
instances of the enforcement of the Serbian Law on Public Information
showed a drastic peak in the ongoing wave of repression against the media
in Serbia. 

ANEM warned that this would not only endanger the media in Serbia but
also endanger Serbia's own vital interests.  ANEM strongly urged the
authorities immediately to drop any form of repression against the media,
regardless of which regulations they enforced or which part of the country
it affected. 

Tomislav Z. Longinovic
Associate Chair
Slavic Languages
1438 Van Hise
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1220 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

office: 608-262-4311
home:   608-231-6706
fax:    608-265-2814

----- End of forwarded message from tomislav longinovic -----

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