Geert Lovink on Fri, 2 Apr 1999 00:40:24 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> KEEPING THE FAITH: B92 statement


B92 statement

Our slogan used to be "Don't trust anyone, not even us". To this we have
now added "... but keep the faith"

Belgrade -- April 1, 1999

On March 24, 1999 secretary-general of NATO issued the order to attack
Yugoslavia. Four hours later Radio B92's transmissions were banned and
essential transmission equipment confiscated. B92 Editor-in-Chief Veran
Matic was detained without explanation and without an opportunity to
contact his family or lawyers. He was released eight hours later, again
without explanation and without having been questioned.

War has been declared in Yugoslavia. Sources of information are drying up.

B92 has continued to broadcast around the clock on the Internet and two
satellites and via a number of stations in neighbouring countries. B92's
news services in Serbian and English are getting more than a million hits a
day from people downloading our information. By producing programs and
distributing them to the heartland via satellite and local rebroadcasting,
we have managed to preserve ANEM, the Association of Independent Electronic

Coverage from Kosovo is now completely impossible. Our principled position
on the Kosovo tragedy has been known throughout the world for a long time
and it has not changed one iota. We are sad to report that our prediction
that NATO bombing could only cause a drastic exacerbation of the
humanitarian catastrophe has proved true.

Operating in war conditions involves enormous risks and we are prepared to
run those risks until we are physically prevented from doing this job.
Visits from the police almost daily and hours of questioning indicate that
increased repression is possible in the future. The introduction of courts
martial and threats to bring back the death penalty not only aggravate the
psychosis but present a clear and immediate danger.

People are leaving the country in droves, but we believe that someone must
remain to pick up the pieces of the democratic processes when the war is
over. Many achievements on the democratic front have now been destroyed.
Somebody with the will and the ability to build democratic institutions
must remain. Foremost among those institutions are the independent media
which are the basis for any democratic change and reform.

It is precisely for this reason that we salute all the initiatives
throughout the world for the support of Radio B92 and other independent
media. (Among these we must specifically mention
Permanent support is essential to us.

Radio B92 has received numerous awards for the solidarity it has offered to
others. Now B92 itself is in need of that same solidarity.

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