Charles Charpentier on Fri, 9 Apr 1999 07:28:54 +0100


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Syndicate: Fw: U.S. Launches 24-Hour Broadcasts to Serbia


I just received this from USIA, I thought that I would pass it along for
your information..........


>U.S. LAUNCHES 24-HOUR BROADCASTS TO SERBIA
>(Transmitters erected to beam unbiased news)  (640)
>By Charlene Porter
>USIA Staff Writer
>
>Washington -- The chairman of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors
>(BBG) have announced that the government's international broadcasters
>will launch round-the-clock programming into Yugoslavia starting on April
>8.
>
>Chairman Marc Nathanson expressed concern about a "media blackout" in
>Yugoslavia and said, "We must get our message to the Serbian people, and
>that message is just unbiased news and information about what is going on
>in Kosovo and the rest of the world."
>
>Programming from the Serbian language services of the Voice of America
>(VOA) and Radio Free Europe (RFE) will be broadcast into Yugoslavia via a
>ring of FM transmitters that is being erected "at a frantic pace" around
>the Balkan nation.  Nathanson said VOA and RFE are working with the U.S.
>Agency for International Development to put up a transmitter "in an
>emergency fashion" to begin broadcasts from a neighboring nation.
>
>The initial broadcasts will be carried on frequency 106.5 FM MHZ,
>reaching Belgrade and most of northern Serbia.  The broadcasting board
>chairman said later expansion of the broadcasts will allow complete
>coverage of the country.
>
>Nathanson did not specify from which nation the first broadcasts are to
>begin.  He said Bosnia, Bulgaria and Romania have entered agreements with
>the U.S. to host the transmitter sites.  He said the U.S. State
>Department is still negotiating with other nations in the region to win
>their support for the emergency broadcasting project.
>
>Ultimately, Nathanson said the government's intent is to build as many as
>six or seven transmitters to support the 24-hour-a-day broadcasts to
>Yugoslavia.  The broadcasts will be delivered in Serbian, as well as some
>programming in Bosnian, Croatian, Albanian and English.
>
>Nathanson said that some U.S. government broadcasts are still being
>transmitted into Yugoslavia on shortwave and AM frequencies.  He said the
>organization's surveys indicate, however, that FM broadcasting is an
>important news source for 52 percent of Serbia's population.
>
>Previously U.S. government broadcasters have had a presence on the FM
>band in Yugoslavia, but Nathanson says VOA, RFE and other foreign
>broadcasters were all pulled from local stations by Serbian authorities
>at the beginning of the NATO bombing campaign.  Independent media have
>also been taken off the air, leaving Yugoslav government-controlled media
>as the dominant news source in the country.
>
>The U.S. government broadcasters are also trying to reach out to their
>audiences via the Internet, and report more than 2.2 million site
>connections for web sites operated by VOA and RFE since March 21.
>Information provided by the BBG showed a one-day surge of more than
>512,000 connections on March 26.  The Internet will also be a crucial
>mechanism for informing the Yugoslav audience about the frequencies where
>they can tune in to the new U.S. programming.
>
>The chief of VOA's Southern European Division Frank Shkreli told a press
>conference that virtually 100 percent of their programming is now related
>to the events in Serbia and Kosovo.  He said freelance journalists are
>providing reports from Macedonia, but stringers in Kosovo and Serbia are
>unable to file on the current conflict.
>
>Shkreli, an Albanian-American, says broadcasters in his division are
>still following the regional view of the unfolding situation by
>interviewing officials in Kosovo and Belgrade.  Recently, VOA's Serbian
>language service interviewed Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk
>Draskovic, Shkreli said.
>
>Nathanson said the new programming will include the U.S. government
>perspective, foreign commentary, general news and the view from Belgrade.
> But he re-emphasized that the BBG's main concern is the "one-sided"
>media reporting from Belgrade.  "To say that the people of Kosovo, the
>Albanians, are walking to the refugee camps because they're afraid of
>NATO bombing is just not the true facts."
>
>***
>
>*************************************************************
>For more information regarding the latest policy statements and other
>materials related to the Kosovo crisis, visit
>http://www.usia.gov/regional/eur/balkans/kosovo/
>
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