Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

FC: Internet B92 Serbian radio station shuts down

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Date:          Fri, 02 Apr 1999 14:00:50 -0500
From:          Declan McCullagh <>
Subject:       FC: Internet B92 Serbian radio station shuts down

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 control.

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 restrictions.

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 Internet.

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.

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