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An attempt of open dictatorship

Directors, editors-in-chief and journalists of those media houses, the premises of which were suddenly occupied by disguised policemen in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, as statements in VREME confirm, are not at all surprised by the last wave of violence and repression against the free public speech.

Veran Matic, director of the Association of the Independent Electronic Media (ANEM), a network which comprises Radio B2-92, says for VREME that the forces of special police, or more precisely the intervention brigades of Belgrade Secretariat of Internal Affairs (SUP), paid an unannounced visit to the premises of that radio.

'The police entered the editorial rooms of the radio at about 2 a.m. At that time there were only a few people there at work, and they were kept there until 10 a.m., without any explanation. It is probable that they wanted to hide the truth from the public about what was going on. As you know, the entire process was preceded by a decision - the conclusion of the Serbian Government, though in this case I would not speak of any legitimate actions', says Matic for VREME. According to his words, the last moves of the regime demonstrate that the authorities in Serbia are no longer trying even to camouflage their unlawful dealings and procedures. 'However, you all know that the Vice-President of the Serbian Government is our great lawyer', comments Matic.

Since Wednesday afternoon, the popular radio B2-92 has, however, begun to transmit information via satellite about what was going on in Belgrade and to distribute it by way of other ANEM members throughout Serbia. Their radio program was also released on the Internet, and during the day some TV packages began to be distributed to TV members of ANEM.

The editor of ANEM's TV production, Bojana Lekic says for VREME that were are facing an open legal repression. 'Unfortunately, the unexpected situations became some kind of regularity on this territory', said Bojana Lekic.

'In intention to depose someone, the authorities have brought about the overall situation to the stage of the utmost intensity. My personal attitude is that we should keep our minds clear and show no excitement, but previously we have to keep our heads on our shoulders', said the famous Belgrade journalist without any sign of optimism.

The editor-in-chief of 'Blic' daily, Veselin Simonovic happened to be out of town at the moment of the police's action, but according to what his colleagues told him, he comments for VREME that the media are finally facing a severe repression. That is the estimation repeated also by Rasko Kovacevic, editor of this very popular and the best sold daily newspaper in the country.

'Only a suggested violence until recently, now became a reality, the actual repression and aggression. This move resulted in the suspension of all laws and the Constitution of Serbia', says Kovacevic, adding that the police has not really 'invaded' the premises of 'Blic' daily, but due to the action against TV Studio B, occupied the entire building of Beogradjanka. Dragan Kojadinovic, director and editor-in-chief of TV Studio B, the equipment of which was taken by the Republic Government along with the further permission to work, with the explanation that the same TV station instigated terrorism and called the masses to rise up against the Constitution, says: 'It is an attempt of a legal excuse for imposing a bare dictatorship and repression. As you know, such decision of the government were signed by Vice-Presidents Vojislav Seselj and Milovan Bojic, who signed their names a professors and doctors, not as vice-presidents. That is the irony of our everyday life. We are now facing a truly brutal state terrorism which has to stop. This cannot pass so simply. It seems that the time has come to confront each other and to see which Serbia shall appear victorious.'

However, in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, a very sad and disturbing scene took place in the building of Beogradjanka. Hundreds of policemen, as Kojadinovic confirms, arrived in buses, occupying thus the premises of TV Studio B and retaining their night-shift employees. The journalists of this TV station were released on Wednesday morning, but the premises remained occupied.

In the end, Kojadinovic says that he hopes to receive help from both the opposition and the citizens, 'because this is not a strike against the media, but against the elementary human rights, an attempt of imposing an open dictatorship with the use of violence. Since there was no immediate reaction of the public to these events, Veran Matic says for VREME that the authorities in Serbia have long worked on getting people used to every sort of violence and repression. As another reason, Matic gives the fact that 'public meetings are compromised because the opposition has never found a true way of unification, which would initiate a more serious action of the citizens'.

Apart from Studio B, the premises of TV Mladenovac, which has a corresponding relationship with Studio B, were also occupied. And then, of course, the TV transmitters of Studio B on the mountains Kosmaj and Torlak.

Source: Vreme NDA (news digest)

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