Kosovo - Kosova Crisis


Koha Ditore Digjitale
Kosova Crisis Center
Mario's Cyberspace Station
University of Prishtina

Threats Against Independent Media in Serbia

In a combined campaign of intimidation yesterday (Friday, 6 March) Serbian Radio Television and Belgrade District Attorney moved together against five independent Belgrade dailies (Danas, Blic, Dnevni Telegraf, Demokratija and Nasa Borba) and an unspecified number of local TV stations. The District Attorney stated that the independent media were "encouraging Albanian terrorism and misinterpreting Serbian police actions" in their "reporting, headlines, comments and transmissions". Serbian Television gleefully supported the DA and offered details of accusations: the independent media dared reporting outside of the framework of Serbian Ministry of Interior official statements; they didn't use the hate-speech favoured by the regime media.

It is a highly dangerous move: Serbian authorities and regime-controlled media are denying Serbian press the right of independent field reporting, the right to use and compare different sources of information and the right to question self-contradictory, confusing and sometimes pathetically suspect official statements of the Ministry of Interior. Even worse: for the first time the regime-controlled Radio Television of Serbia openly asks that all the press in Serbia shall use their hate-speech, emotionally loaded with ethnic insults agains Albanians.

Their message is clear: do you believe your eyes or police statements? Official police statements are a precious source of expert information -- as long as they are professional, truthful, timely and properly made; we're afraid that those communiques have been somewhat flawed recently. Indepenedent press had their reporters in the field in Kosovo; those reporters saw, heard and sometimes smelled the factual truth -- and reported it as well as they could. Is that a treason, as the regime media in Serbia are hinting? Is there any hope for justice if the there's no hope for truth?

Belgrade, 7 March 1998
Milos Vasic, President
Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia