Geert Lovink on Sat, 3 Apr 1999 19:35:57 +0200 (CEST)

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Press Release
April 3 1999

Latest news:

The last message from Yugoslavia's most prominent independent broadcaster
-B92 - as government officials and the police moved in on April 2, 1999,
to take over the station and silence the last vestiges of free speech in
Serbia was - 'Keep The Faith!'
HelpB92 was launched on March 25, 1999, to do just that. The support group
uses Internet technology to enable B92 and all other banned independent
media in Yugoslavia defend their right to speak freely, and the pivotal
role of free media to regional stability.

The action against B92 comes at the end of a week of intense media
repression against independent media in Yugoslavia. On March 24,
government officials confiscated B92's transmitter, cutting off direct
radio broadcasts to Belgrade. B92 responded by harnessing the power of the
Internet and Real Audio, satellite, medium wave broadcasts and solidarity
rebroadcasting across the world to its struggle for free speech. B92
supporters responded in record number - the B92 web site had 15 million
visitors in just 7 days.

At the same time, in the past ten days, ten rebroadcasters of B92's news
from the Association of Independent Electronic Media - ANEM have been
closed down by the government. Other ANEM members have the either taken
themselves voluntarily off the air rather than re-broadcast the propaganda
of state radio and TV, which they must do by law when the country is in a
state of war, or have been taken over by the government.

In Kosovo, the offices of the two most important alternative Albanian
language media - Koha and Radio 21 - have also been destroyed and their
staff have fled the country.

The closure of B92, on April 2, 1999, means that the only source of
information left for audiences and viewers in the region is the
state-controlled Radio Television Serbia.

All the journalists from these banned independent media are now in dire
straits and money is urgently needed to help assist these journalists to
find new means to get news out.

We therefore ask people to please express their involvement and support
this cause by donating money to the special HelpB92 fund, bank account
number 7676, Postbank Amsterdam, Swift address INGBNL2A, in the name of
Press Now. Please specify 'Help B92'

In the last week, HelpB92 has received an enormous amount of support from
around the globe. In Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia supporting
web sites have been established in their national languages. Hundreds of
people and organisations have placed the HelpB92 logo and link to the web
site on their home pages and signed the interactive guest book.

Future actions include benefit concerts, global rebroadcasting initiatives
and Internet Real Audio actions.

HelpB92 was founded by: B92, De Balie, De Digitale Stad, Next 5 Minutes,
Press Now, Public Netbase (Austria), radioqualia (Australia), De Waag
(MONM) and XS4ALL Internet.

B92 Website: HelpB92 campaign: