used without permission, for "fair use" only


Dnevni Telegrad on-line edition, Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia, October 14, 1998


Dear Sir,

Contrary to your statement that the danger of armed intervention against our country has been removed as the result of an agreement between you and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the Serbian Ministry of Information has banned Dnevni Telegraf, citing imminent war danger as the justification.

There have been cases in Serbian history when copies of newspapers were siezed and journalists were arrested, but no paper has ever been banned and no Ministry ever attempted to directly edit newspapers with police assistance. It did not happen during the monarchy, it did not happen under Communism. Since I have confidence in your assurance that there will be no war, and since I believe the Ministry of Information may well be acting in direct contravention to your agreement with Mr. Holbrooke, I beg you to use your authority and annul this unprecedented decision which discredits Yugoslavia in the eyes of the entire world. Knowing you personally, I am convinced that you cannot be satisfied when the people who decide about the Serbian media hide behind empty cliches and act as if it were possible to create a modern Serbia with citizens who are deaf, blind and dumb.

Your support for the freedom of media will be an encouragement to that part of Serbia which is not afraid to carry its burden of responsibility and pay the price for believeing that the future of this nation and this country lies in freedom, democracy, justice, reason and openess to the world. That is the editorial policy of my newspaper. It is your duty to explain which part of that policy counters the vision of Serbia represented by those who have made and implemented this ignominious and unconstitutional decision about the arrest of the Serbian media.

Slavko Curuvija
Manager and Editor-in-Chief

Minister Vucic Organized Parapolice

Since 1am last night, unidentified, muscular, and armed civilians with unknown authorisation have been standing in front of the sealed offices of Dnevni Telegraf. After several futile attempts to find out whether they were policemen in civilian clothes or employees of a private protection agency, newspaper's editorial team called the local police patrol. The unidentified persons introduced themselves as government employees and, at Slavko Curuvija's (editor-in-chief) request, presented an authorisation from the Ministry of Information, signed by Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

It has been established that the unidentified persons are members of irregular police forces, actually employees of a private protection, escort and insurance agency; the Minister recruited and paid them with tax payer's money to prevent access to the paper's offices. The unidentified persons are armed but refused talk about their orders and whether they would use their guns. An invited police officer informed the journalists that the unidentified perons were there based on Minister's orders and also an order from a high ranking police official. Since one of the goons was identified as a body guard from "Stankom" private protection agency, it is assumed that all of the guards are from that agency.

You can send your protests directly to the responsible officials at the following addresses:

His Excellency Slobodan Milosevic
President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
11000 Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia
Fax: 381 11 656 862
381 11 636 775
e-mail: Slobodan.Milosevic@gov.yu

Mirko Marjanovic
Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Serbia
11000 Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia
Fax: 381 11 657 379

Mr. Goran Matic
Secretary for Information
Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia
Fax: 381 11 600 446
e-mail: Goran.Matic@gov.yu

Mr. Aleksandar Vucic
Minister of Information in the Government of the Republic of Serbia
Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia
e-mail: mirs@srbija-info.yu

Translated on 10/15/98. Daily news updates can be found on the Dnevni Telegraf site.