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Political party targets media house with harassment over its reporting on war crimes in former Yugoslavia

(ANEM/IFEX) - The following is a 28 May 2007 ANEM statement:

NEW PRESSURES ON PROFESSIONAL MEDIA

BELGRADE, May 28, 2007 - The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) strongly condemns the continuous pressure on and attacks against media that report on war crimes in former Yugoslavia. ANEM also condemns the glorification of those indicted in war crimes processes and the denial of these crimes.

On 26 May 2007, several hundred members of the Serbian Radical Party and the Obraz movement gathered in front of the building of the B92 media house, a member of ANEM, in New Belgrade. They pasted posters bearing the name Ratko Mladic, who has been indicted on war crimes charges by The Hague, and shouted insults at B92 employees. Later that afternoon, more supporters of Mladic, members of the NGO that goes by the name "Families of Serbian Football Fans", gathered in the same place.

At a party press conference, Aleksandar Vucic from the Serbian Radical Party accused the management of B92 of criminal conduct, effectively announcing that his party will target B92. He claimed that this media house campaigns under the instructions of "occupiers" against people with views different from their own.

Minister Dragan Joèiae; from the Democratic Party of Serbia, said that all gatherings had been reported to the authorities. He also stated that he considered the distribution of posters that glorify someone indicted for war crimes to be the expression of a legitimate political perspective.

ANEM considers the minister's attitude worrisome, especially considering the numerous unsolved cases of attacks against B92 - from the bomb planted under one of its media vehicles, to continuous threats against its journalists and the recent attempt on the life of journalist Dejan Anastasijevic immediately following his appearance on a Radio B92 programme.

ANEM points out that it is of utmost importance that the Serbian government guarantee the necessary conditions for the media to work without hindrance and, through legal action, that it prevent damage being done to the integrity of the judiciary through the glorification of fugitives.

ANEM calls on media and related organizations to demonstrate their solidarity with media outlets subjected to pressure because of their reporting. ANEM appeals to the democratic public to react to all attempts to deny crimes or present such acts as legitimate political opinion.

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