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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 3 PM), December 7, 1996

    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/
    All texts are Copyright 1996 Radio B92. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    NEWS BY 3 PM


    Cathie Marton, President of the American CPJ (Committee for
    Protection of Journalists) and wife of former Mediator in the
    Yugoslav crisis Richard Holbrooke, met Serbian President Slobodan
    Milosevic this morning and later gave an interview to the B92:

    Ms. Marton: ``We had two and a half hours of serious conversation.
    I told him that I had come on behalf of American media to express
    our solidarity with the right of our colleagues in the press in
    Serbia to do their jobs without fear and insecurity. He listened
    intently and said that he would keep his hands off the B92, which
    was the immediate reason that I came when B92 went off the air. He
    said several times that B92 could operate in security and that he
    would not interfere in the future and he also said that in an
    attempt to prevent the demonstrations from erupting into something
    uncontrolled, possibly even violent. He would keep his (refering
    to Milosevic) supporters from coming to Belgrade to show their
    support and that he would allow the demonstrations to continue
    peacefully and without interference either from the police,
    military or Milosevic's partisans.''

    ``I think that the reaction of the West and in that I include
    Europe and American media in showing support for the B92 was swift
    and critical. I myself came within 24 hours of learning that B92
    was off the air, as you know I am the chair of the Committee to
    Protect Journalists which is the largest associations looking
    after press freedom in the USA.  So, I think that that level of
    solidarity is very important, and (that it is) very important for
    the people of Serbia to know that they are not alone and that they
    have very strong support in the West on their road to
    democratisation, and I made this point with President Milosevic
    that we are very encouraged by the fact that he has put B92 back
    on the air and that he's allowing the demonstrations to take place

    Q: About the current situation in the Serbian media... Would there
    be some improvement?

    ``I very much hope so and I think that President Milosevic now
    knows that this is an enormous concern to the West and that the he
    can not have the things that he would very much like to have,
    which is normal relations with the Western countries and in that I
    include not only diplomatic relations, but also trade and
    investment and all the things that Sebia so desperately needs and
    wants, if he silences the legitimate independent media here. The
    two are absolutely related. Free media is the oxygen of democracy.
    He can not cut off that oxygen to his people without paying an
    enormous price.

    My message to the opposition leaders is not a political message. I
    am not here to express political support for anybody, I am here to
    express the support for free press and I will say to the leaders
    of the opposition exactly what I said to President Milosevic,
    which is: 'Do you support the free press? Can I have a firm
    commitment from you that if you gained more power that you will
    respect the right of journalists to do their work? '

    I think it's absolutely vital for 'Boom 93' to go back on the air
    and there's no good reason for it not to go on the air and I think
    we have to continue to press the authorities here to allow that to
    happen, because I think in the current age 1996 or 1997 it is
    impossible to cut off the flow of information to the people. Those
    days are gone when authoritarian governments can control the flow
    of truth. We are living in an age where technology makes that
    impossible, where we have so many channels for truth to come
    through. We have the Internet, emails, we have faxes, cable news,
    satellite news, radio, TV, all the old-fashioned ways as well,
    newspapers -- of course. It's not possible any more for any
    government to control the flow of information and trying to do
    that is counter-productive and self-destructive. Because it lands
    you in big trouble with the people that you are trying to convince
    that you are a legitimate government and that you are on the road
    of democratisation. And that is something that Milosevic promised
    that he would do when he signed the Dayton Accords was to set this
    country after so many years of war and hardship to set this
    country on the road to democratisation. At the moment this country
    is way behind the other countries in the region and this is a rich
    country with a very talented population. And the only way to
    correct that situation is to allow the people access to
    information and with that will come Western respect, Western
    support, Western investment and membership in all the Western
    organisations in which Serbia as a European country belongs.''


    The Supreme Court of Serbia has not declared its position as
    regards the appeal by the Municipal Electoral Committee of
    Belgrade to annul the decisions by the First Municipal Court which
    had cancelled 33 terms of office won by coalition Zajedno
    candidates. Radio B92 has learned from the legal staff of the
    coalition that, legally, the Supreme Court is obligated to make
    their decision by 9:30 tomorrow morning.


    The daily ``Nasa Borba'' has learned that the list bearer of all
    polling lists for the coalition of the Socialist Party of Serbia
    (SPS), the Yugoslav United Left (JUL) and the New Democracy (ND)
    has resigned as a Member of Federal Parliament due to ``the
    incompatibility of views'' held by the presidential and Federal MP
    office. The present Belgrade Mayor, Nebojsa Covic, has done the
    same. Nikola Sainovic, Deputy Prime Minister of FRY, and Nedeljko
    Sipovec, Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Serbian Minister of
    Agriculture, are rumored as possible candidates for the office of
    the Chairman of the Federal Council of Citizens. The Federal
    Council of Citizens is to be constituted by Tuesday, December 10.


    Latest developments in Serbia ``have been positive,'' assessed
    former Milan Panic, former Prime Minister of FR Yugoslavia, in a
    statement made for the Voice Of America's news program in Serbian.
    He said he believed the rights of Serbian citizens must be
    recognized and ``if this happens, we will have made a crucial step
    towards the democratization of the country.'' ``There are two ways
    out of the situation: the first is that Mr Milosevic acknowledge
    the electoral results and allow the freedom of the media. If he
    does this, we are on the way to democratization, and he should be
    allowed stay in power. We have to give him a chance to improve the
    situation and I believe he would do this.''


    Slobodan Milosevic has offered a deal to opposition Zajedno
    coalition, says the newspaper ``Demokratija.''  According to
    reliable sources, the Socialist Party [the reconstituted Communist
    Party headed by Milosevic] is deeply shaken by internal
    disagreements and constant tensions with the Yugoslav Left, headed
    by Milosevoc's wife. Due to increased international pressure,
    Milosevic is, allegedly, ready to give Belgrade to opposition, in
    exchange for Nis. Belgrade is opposition -- inclined anyway, no
    matter who is in power. On the other hand, the ruler of Nis will
    have an advantage in the impending province-wide elections next
    year, because Nis is the center of southern Serbia. According to
    the sources of ``Demokratija,'' Milosevic may offer some more
    scapegoats (possibly Mile Ilic and some people from the Justice
    Department) in his attempt to regain Nis.


    ``The protest of students of Novi Sad is getting more and more
    massive. The number of yesterday's protesters is estimated at over
    fifteen thousand,'' says the newspaper ``Demokratija.''  The
    newspaper quotes some of the slogans written of the banners
    carried by demonstrators: ``Sloba, we will judge you -- The Law
    Students of Novi Sad.''  ``Truth is underway, nothing can stop
    it.''  And, below a picture of Slobodan and Mira Milosevic, the
    text read, ``They are (tick off the correct answer): Bonnie and
    Clyde, Nikolae and Elena, Adolf and Eva.''


    ``As long as Milosevic and Tudjman are in power, their countries
    cannot escape ethnic strife and one party rule. This has to be
    said openly and the West must find a way for these regimes to be
    changed,'' says the newspaper ``Guardian.''  This evaluation was
    picked up by BBC radio and placed prominently in its regular
    review of the British press.

    ``Financial Times'' says that the Foreign Ministers of EU
    countries have put additional pressure on Belgrade and refused to
    grant concessions on further economic relations, which have
    already been given to other former Yugoslav republics.

    High Commissioner for Bosnia Karl Bildt likened the return to
    Radio B92 and the permission it has implicitly received to stay on
    the air as ``a tiny beam of light can be seen breaking through the
    dark.'' Financial Times adds that, according to some western
    diplomats, Bildt has proposed the holding of new municipal
    elections in Serbia, this time under international control and


    A group of eminent French intellectuals have been invited as
    guests of the Center for the Cultural Decontamination and the
    Belgrade Circle. The statement issued by the Belgrade Circle said
    that philosophers Bernard Henry Levy and Andre Glucksman, former
    Minister for Culture Jacques Lang, Special Envoy of the French
    Socialist Party Jules Hertzog, the publisher, theater and movie
    director Henrianne Muchino and President of the audio-visual
    Commission of France Pierre Berrer are among those invited to
    visit Belgrade.


    Deutsche Mark's value on the black market in Novi Sad this morning
    increased to 3.9 dinars (the official rate 1 DM = 3.3 din). One
    Deutsche Mark is being bought for 3.7 dinars.

    This is the third increase of the Deutsche Mark this week and
    dealers on the black claim new increases can be expected since
    there is ``a surplus of dinars on the streets.''

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: Vaska Andjelkovic (Tumir)

    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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