Special issue - Media in Serbia,
Vol 5. November 2, 1998


-"AIM" on the chronology of the closure of the media outlets

-"Nezavisni" on the Decree that preceded the Media law

-"Vreme" on the political background of the action against the media

-"Feral Tribune" on the views of the current situation from the media angle

-"Vreme" a more detailed analysis of the new Media law and its political background


At the time when the eyes of Serbia, as well as the World, were focused on the negotiations between Richard Holbrooke and Slobodan Milosevic in the search of the answer to the question whether NATO will intervene on the territory of Yugoslavia or not, Milosevic used this to deal with independent media in Serbia.

Under the guise that these media are calling the population to rebellion, that they are spreading defeatism and that they are transmitting the propaganda messages of the foreign states directed against the ruling system in FRY, Serbian information minister, urgently closed down three most respected Belgrade independent dailies, "Danas," "Nasa Borba," and "Dnevni Telegraf," as well as two radio stations Belgrade "Radio Index" and "Radio Senta" from Senta.

With this lightning strike, the editorial offices have been closed down, and frequencies taken over. In an urgent procedure, a new Media law has been passed, which sanctioned these moves. The new law, the most restrictive in the history of Serbian journalism, is enabling anyone that feels "hurt" by a journalistic article to alarm a civil court judge against the author of the article, the editor, as well as the owner of the media source.

When the imminent danger of the NATO action waned, which was amplified as much as possible through all state media, the regime allowed the operation of all the sealed media outlets, but the new law remained in effect. All the independent media organization in Yugoslavia fiercely protested, which were only halfheartedly joined by the opposition parties. Much more firmer protests came from abroad: the UN, EU, Council of Europe, as well as West Europena governments. But, all this was greeted by malicious comments of the Radical party of Vojislav Seselj, mentioning foreign spies and mercenaries in the independent media.

"Balkan Media&Policy Monitor" brings in this special issue the articles which analyze the new Serbian law on media, the political background which lead to stifling of the independent media, as well as why Milosevic needed all this at this moment in Serbia.

Besides this selection of articles more on the Media law, including the English translation of the full legal texts can be accessed through the following WWW sites:

The Editor

"Balkan Media and Policy Monitor" is a by-weekly publication financed and sponsored by the Netherlands Ministry of Culture, The Hague hCa -Prague, IKV- The Hague, Pax Christi (Netherlands) - Utrecht, and Press Now - Amsterdam.

Editor: Ruzica Zivkovic
Contact: Celebesstraat 60, The Hague
Tel: 31 70 350 7100
e-mail: ikv@antenna.NL (for the "Monitor")
Web sites:

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