"Dnevni Telegraf" fined under Serbian Law on Public Information; Radio Index and others still banned
(AMARC/IFEX) - The following is a 9 November 1998 statement by the
Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) distributed in its
entirety by AMARC:
**Updates IFEX alerts of 28 October, 21 October, 20 October, 14 October, 9
October 1998 and others**
On Sunday 8 November, Belgrade's misdemeanour judge fined the Montenegrin
company Dnevni Telegraf and the daily "Dnevni Telegraf"'s chief editor
Novakovic a total of 1.2 million dinars (US$ 120,000 approx.) for violating
the Serbian Law on Public Information.
Charges were brought on the initiative of the Serbian Minister for Refugees,
Bratislava Morina, acting on behalf of the Women's Association of FR
Yugoslavia, who claimed that an ad published in the 7 November issue of
"Dnevni Telegraf" for the student organisation Otpor (Resistance) called for
the violent overthrow of the constitutional order. Four student members of
Otpor had previously been jailed on the same charges, after they tried to
paint their organisation's logo on a wall in Belgrade.
"Dnevni Telegraf"'s attorneys walked out of the courtroom in protest before
the end of the hearing after their efforts to defend the freedom and rights
of the defendents under basic constitutional and legal guarantees were
rejected by the court.
"In this case, the two most repressive laws in Serbia have come into play.
The first, the Law on the University, has de facto turned students and
university professors out on the street, while the second, the Law on Public
Information, aims to destroy the independent media scene. This makes it
obvious that the regime is intent on having its revenge on the forces that
were crucial in the mass civil protests for democracy in 1996 and 1997,"
said ANEM Chairman Veran Matic.
On Friday 6 November, the Yugoslav Telecommunications Ministry rejected
Radio Index's appeal against the ministry's banning order. The ministry thus
confirmed its own illegal act, which the station will take to the Yugoslav
Radio Senta, City Radio in Nis, Radio Kontakt in Pristina and TV Pirot, have
been closed in the same illegal manner. Each of them has submitted
applications that fully comply with the ministry's requirements in the
frequency allocation tender. While failing to announce the results of the
tender even after all legal deadlines for such action have expired, the
ministry continues its banning action.
"The stations will initiate administrative suits before the Yugoslav
Constitutional Court. Moreover, in a matter of days, ANEM will be able to
expand Radio Index's and Radio Senta's shows for the ANEM Radio Network
thanks to a new transmitter which will be located in Montenegro," said