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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 6 PM), January 17, 1997

    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/
    All texts are Copyright 1997 Radio B92. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    NEWS BY 6 PM


    Students of the Belgrade University and today walked with their
    pets down the streets of Belgrade. An announcement on behalf of
    the pets was read aloud. It says that animals have always
    supported their masters, i.e.humans in their fight for the truth
    and progress. According to the announcement, animals suggested
    that they will make a massive noise in the time of the main news
    bulletin on the RTS television with their barking, meowing,
    crowing, neighing in order to incite their masters to join the
    protest. Students announced a new protest rally for 6 PM tonight.


    Leaders of the coalition Zajedno, who had a meeting with Italian
    Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, today held a press conference in
    Rome. President of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic
    said he believes this is the last year of Milosevic's rule, and
    added: ``Many people are against Milosevic. Majority is against
    Milosevic.'' Journalists asked about new way of protesting that
    was announced. ``Those protests will be peaceful. I would rather
    surprise you.'' Draskovic also stated that he is not satisfied
    with foreign pressure on Serbian authorities, because the pressure
    is not efficient. ``I do not want to advise neither American
    Government nor European Union, but they must find an effective way
    to force Milosevic to respect electoral results and Dayton.
    Sanctions can be imposed on Milosevic and his mafia -- but not on
    the country and its suffering people. Greatest sanctions for th
    people are Milosevic and his dictatorship,''stated Draskovic.


    On today's protest rally of the coalition Zajedno in Belgrade,
    leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, informed
    the crowd of the talks that Zajedno leaders had while in Rome.
    Draskovic said that Italian government expressed its suport to the
    peaceful protests in Belgrade, and that no one can say that the
    world has an anti-Serb attitude, for possible isolation of Serbia
    depends only on Milosevic. ``We spoke about Kosovo and we said
    that Serbian people will never build its rights by treading on
    other people's rights, nor will it let the others to gain their
    rights from the misery of Serbian people,'' claimed Draskovic.

    ``We have never expected this struggle to be easy, but we will
    endure, for we are all led by the same thought,'' said Vesna
    Pesic, leader of the Civil Alliance of Serbia and pointed out that
    police cordons cannot hide the truth about Serbia. Leader of the
    Democratic Party, Zoran djindjic, compared Milosevic with the
    mouse lost in a labyrinth. ``Our task is not to let him make that
    labyrinth his home and say -- it is possible to live in
    alabyrinth. We must not let him sleep peacefully with our stolen
    votes. New, sixtieth successive, protest was announced for


    Former Vice President of the Republic of Srpska, Nikola Koljevic,
    today was transported to the Belgrade Military-Medicine Academy,
    after he attempted suicide this morning. His health condition is

    Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Miltinovic today talked to the
    Special UN Envoy for the Human Rights, Elisabeth Wren, report
    Belgrade media. ``Both sides expressed conviction that all open
    questions can be solved only through a dialogue. Meetings like
    this should continue for the sake of further development of mutual
    cooperation,'' says the announcement of the Federal Foreign

    Italian Government annouced today that the Serbian authorities
    must recognize the November 17 local electoral results, as
    recommended by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in

    Zek Durmici was killed last night in front of his house in the
    town of Srbica in Kosovo. His son Nazmija sustained serious
    injuries, reports Radio Belgrade today. The same source reports
    that this was ``a classic terrorist attack... by unidentified
    perpetrators using automatic rifles.''  Radio Belgrade stated that
    this has been the second murder in Srbica in the last 3 days and
    that the target of the terrorist attacks are again ``Albanians
    loyal to Serbia.''


    The goverment of the Republic of Srpska (RS) addopted its work
    programme for 1997 today as well as the Draft Law on Goverment
    which respects the regulations of the General outlines of the
    peace agreement in Bosnia Herzegovina, reports RS newsagency SRNA.

    The Draft Law on RS Government proposes that the issue of the
    government seat, namely the RS capital, can be regulated only
    through the constitution.

    Report on accomodation of the refugees and displaced persons was
    returned for completion, after which it will be handed directly to
    the RS parliament for discussion. According to the present report
    by the ministry for refugees and displaced persons, 92,960 persons
    are without accomodation at present while collective centres house
    about 9,000 refugees.


    Dear students,

    I wish to address you again in a few words of greeting and
    gratitude for your perseverence and determination to keep your
    protest up. The whole civilized world admires your action in
    Belgrade and other cities of Serbia. You have the most credit for
    the recent change of Serbia's image so that the name of Serbia is
    once again respected in the world. At this historic moment, our
    conscience, national interest and democracy determine our duties
    and obligations. Your protest completely fulfils your present
    duty. As for myself, I think my utmost duty is to use my contacts
    with the democratic statesmen of the world and the media to
    explain that an extensive democratic movement has developed in
    Serbia, which will not stop until the student and opposition
    demands are accepted in full. I shall also demand that they give
    you thir full support and thus help the democratic transformation
    in Serbia. In all this, your determination to carry on and the
    unity of your action are of crucial importance.

    January 16, 1997


    2 metal whistles connected with a black ribbon have been taken
    away from a detained marcher in the Vranje Police Department
    yesterday. ``These whistles have been instruments of offence and
    are therefore temporaritly taken away,'' said the police report,
    signed and stamped by authorized officials, reports today's issue
    of the Belgrade daily Demokratija.


    The second session of the pannel in the Serbian Parliament was
    adjourned last night only 10 minutes after its beginning. The
    pannel's conclusion was that any discussion is pointless unless
    representatives of all Serbian parliamentary parties participate
    it. Gorica Gajevic, leader of the Socialist MPs in the Serbian
    Parliament has stated that her party, being the initiator of the
    pannel, ``has once again proved its inclination towards a dialogue
    rather than a monologue,'' said the Belgrade daily Dnevni Telegraf


    Jan. 16, 1997

    Dear Mr. President Milosevic,

    I am writing to you as chair of the Committee to Protect
    Journalists to draw your attention to an issue of paramount
    importance for the international community and the people of the
    Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY): an independent public
    television channel.

    As you know, Radio Television Serbia (RTS), the state television
    company, has three channels seen throughout the Federation. We
    strongly urge the adoption of new regulatory structures for state
    and private broadcasting which would strive to ensure the complete
    editorial independence of radio and television news coverage.

    However, at this moment of grave political tension, as an
    essential first step towards this goal, we recommend that the news
    division of at least one of these three channels be turned over as
    soon as possible to an editorial board of professional journalists
    of recognized integrity and political independence.

    There are several compelling reasons for such an action. First,
    television is supported by Yugoslav tax payers, that is, all
    viewers must pay for a mandatory television subscription included
    in their electric bills. Because they are paying for it, Yugoslav
    citizens have the right to demand greater independence and
    diversity in television news programming.

    Second, the Serbian government has a total monopoly over
    television broadcasting. Journalists were surprised to learn
    recently, for example, that demonstrators bussed into Belgrade in
    recent weeks had no knowledge of the large public opposition
    rallies there or the issues surrounding the contested municipal
    elections. This lack of television coverage of the most basic fact
    of civic life in Serbia now-large, peaceful, daily demonstrations
    in Belgrade and other cities -- raises serious questions about the
    climate for press freedom and democracy in Serbia. Such biased
    coverage runs counter to the promise you signed in our meeting on
    December 8 in which you agreed to support a free media in FRY.

    I respectfully urge you to do everything in your power to
    facilitate the creation of an independent public channel. A public
    broadcasting board, including members drawn from opposition forces
    and the independent media, should be founded as soon as possible.
    Some kind of agency to distribute frequencies should be
    established with multi-partied parliamentary oversight. Currently,
    only temporary licenses are issued for broadcast frequencies.
    Please give serious consideration to organizing a public auction
    for frequencies with the awarding of permanent licenses, as has
    been done elsewhere in the region.

    As you know, elsewhere in Europe, in countries undergoing
    transitions to democracy, these issues have become the subject of
    new electronic media laws. Currently the Federal Republic of
    Yugoslavia does not have adequate legislation concerning these
    matters. If such laws could be drafted soon-with extensive public
    and parliamentary debate-it would go a long way toward improving
    the extremely tense climate now prevailing in many cities of

    Mr. President, the only road back to international respectability
    includes a free media-the one ingredient which separates democracy
    from every other form of government. I am not asking anything more
    that what you yourself have committed to deliver both during the
    Dayton negotiations and during our conversation last month. The
    matter of an independent media is more urgent now that it has ever
    been before.


    Kati Marton
    Committee to Protect Journalists

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: Mary Anne Wood

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/

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