Geert Lovink on Fri, 2 Apr 1999 14:03:01 +0100

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Syndicate: Sound of B92 banned


Pressrelease Radio B92
Amsterdam, April 2, 1999

Sound of B92 Banned

Government officials have shut down radio B92 - silencing the last
independent voice in Serbia. In the early hours of Friday morning, April
2, police officers arrived to seal the station's offices, and ordered all
staff to cease work and leave the premises immediately.

A court official accompanied the police. He delivered a decision from the
government-controlled Council of Youth to the station's manager of 6 years
- Sasa Mirkovic - that he had been dismissed. The council of youth
replaced Sasa Mirkovic with Aleksandar Nikacevic, a member of Milosevic's
ruling Socialist Party of Serbia, thus bringing B92 under government

B92 has been the only source of alternative information in and from Serbia
since the start of NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia 10 days ago.
Although a ban on the station's transmitter in the morning of the first
day of airstrikes - Wednesday March 24 - took the station off the air, B92
has continued to broadcast news and information via the Internet and
satellite. On the same day as Federal Telecommunications' officials seized
the station's transmitter police officers also detained the station's
chief editor - Veran Matic. He was released unharmed and without
explanation eight hours later. Since the transmission ban on B92 the
station has been heavily policed and has been operating under severe

The ban on B92 is the latest in a series of crackdowns on free media in
the past week. The wave of media repression has resulted in the closure of
a large number of members of the B92-led independent broadcasting network
- ANEM, and all independent press.

Since the launch of B92 news broadcasts on the web last Wednesday its site
has had some 15 million visitors. Support sites such as report 16,000 visitors per day. Local radio
stations across Europe have been re-broadcasting b92 audio signal from the

B92 is the leading independent broadcaster in Yugoslavia, and established
the national re-broadcasting network of 35 radio and 18 television
stations - ANEM - in 1996. The station was due to celebrate its 10th
anniversary this May.