Four months after the illegal government seizure of the premises and frequency of the award-winning independent Belgrade Radio B 92, the stations staff resumed newscasts at 08.00 CET on Monday August 2, under the name of B2-92.
B2-92 will shortly restore Real Audio web casts of its programs on its Internet site, as well as its Internet news bulletins in Serbian and in English. Listeners of the real B92 outside Belgrade will also soon be able to receive B2-92 news programming via their local stations in the ANEM Radio and Television Networks.
With the beginning of the NATO attack on Yugoslavia, as predicted months ago, the independent media were among the first victims of the regime. On March 24, at 2:50am local time, the authorities shut down Belgrade independent station B92. The official justification for the ban was that Radio B92 was broadcasting at a higher power than allowed by their permit. The station was shut down by two inspectors from the Federal Telecommunications Ministry, backed by about ten policemen. The policemen arrested editor-in-chief Veran Matic. Matic was released later that day.
On April 2, the Serbian authorities sealed the Radio B92 offices. The station has been declared state property and a Milosevic loyalist was installed as a new director. Since then, B92 has stopped broadcasting and sending news over the Internet. The employees were instructed to return to work on April 5, indicating that the authorities will attempt to continue using the station for their purposes. The last message from Belgrade, before the computers were turned off, was: The struggle continues. We shall never surender [to Milosevic]!. Since then, the B92 staff have established a Free B92 web site with the help of their friends in the Netherlands. So far, they have had several fund raising events and on-line concerts. The site also offers articles from the magazine Rec, both in English and Serbicroatian. The articles deal with the war in Kosovo and its aftermath, chances for change in Serbia, collective guilt etc.
The Serbian authorities have taken over the old B92 site as well as the www.b92.net site and the opennet.org server, so that all of the old opennet.org presentations are now redirected to the hijacked B92 site.
|The original staff hopes to return on the air as soon as possible. For that, they need your help! In the wake of the withdrawal of the Yugoslav military forces from Kosovo, the government repression of the media in Serbia continues unabated: many ANEm members are still off air, while others are required to rebroadcast Radio TV Serbia's program. Several broadcasters, human rights workers, and journalists have been arrested, while the implementation of the draconian Public Information Law continues. Most recently, Parlament, a publication of the Civic Center in Novi Pazar in the Raska/Sandzak region, was fined by 100,000 dinars two days ago.|
During the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia many Yugoslav NGOs issued a number of statements and open letters to their collaborators abroad and in Kosovo. The independent media, including ANEM, also appealed to their supporters in the West and chronicled the ensuing suppression of the independent media in Seebia.
Repression continues: media news from June 27, 1999. In March 1999 the repression against independent media intensified.