Serbia update: B92 back on air

Monday, December 9, 1996

SERBIA UPDATE: B92 BACK ON AIR

(Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists, 09 December1996)

After wide international protest, government authorities on 5 December 1996 allowed Radio B92 and Radio Index to go back on the air. Both had been shut down two days earlier.

Information minister Aleksandar Tijanic has since resigned, saying he quit because he disagreed with the shutdown of the radio stations and the tight control of television news.

On December 3, B92 received a letter from the Ministry of Transportation and Communication saying that it had operated illegally, and it was taken off the air, along with student station Radio Index.

Television in Serbia remains completely under Milosevic's control. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, "In the southern industrial city of Nis, 30,000 protesters took to the streets, destroying television sets to symbolize unhappiness with the state-controlled media."

More than 100,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Belgrade again on December 6, the 19th day of mass marches since the annulment by President Slobodan Milosevic of opposition victories in local elections.

Not surprisingly, on December 8, the Serbian supreme court upheld the President's action in annulling the election results.

Thanks to everyone who wrote letters to the Serbian authorities on behalf of Radio B92 and Radio Index. Please continue to protest Milosevic's utter disregard for the democratic process and his censorship of all television in Serbia.

For background and a link to B92's web site, see Independent radio shut down.