7 October 1997

Alert

NATO forces seize television transmitters


Incident details

other


(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following letter was sent by ARTICLE 19
to the High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Carlos
Westendorp, who is the top civilian official in the country. In
the letter, ARTICLE expresses concern over the seizure by NATO
forces of Serbian television transmitters. (According to news
reports, NATO-led troops seized transmitters and shut down
Bosnian Serb television on 1 October for broadcasts deemed
"inflammatory" and "destructive" to United States of America-
brokered peace accords. The NATO force took over four
transmitters in the north, northeast, south and near Sarajevo.)





**Updates and corrects IFEX alert dated 25 September 1997**


As well, the IFEX Clearing House wishes to point out that, in the original
IFEX alert, the source of which was the World Press Freedom Committee
(WPFC), it was erroneously suggested by the WPFC that U.S. and NATO forces
were planning to jam extremist broadcasts in Serbia. However, the jamming
was actually to have taken place in the Republica Srpska, in
Bosnia-Herzegovina.



"6 October 1997


"Carlos Westendorp

High Representative

Rue de Noyer, 211

1000 Brussels

Belgium


"SFOR (Nato-led Stabilisation Force), having seized the Bosnian
Serb Television (SRT) transmitters, now has a responsibility to
ensure that the state-owned broadcaster fulfils its public
service broadcasting role properly. This would involve
introducing balanced and impartial coverage of issues while
respecting the right to freedom of expression, particularly in
the run-up to the key November elections.


"The recent management of SRT, closely aligned with Radovan
Karadzic, demonstrated very clearly an unwillingness to allow
balanced access and accurate reporting. Simply handing over
control to the Bosnian Serb President, Biljana Plavsic, is
unlikely to change the situation significantly.


"ARTICLE 19 therefore calls on you, as High Representative and as
the person who authorised the seizure of the transmitters, to do
all within your power to ensure that their future use guarantees
freedom of expression, while respecting the principles of balance
and impartiality.


"Frances D'Souza

Executive Director"


Recommended Action


Send appeals to Carlos Westendorp:

  • calling on him to do everything so that the future use of the
    SRT transmitters guarantees freedom of expression, while
    respecting the principles of balance and impartiality




    Appeals To



    Carlos Westendorp
    High Representative
    Rue de Noyer, 211
    1000 Brussels
    Belgium
    Fax: +322 737 7416


    (Office in Sarajevo)
    Fax: +387 71 447 420







    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.





  • Source

    ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
    6-8 Amwell Street
    London
    EC1R 1UQ
    United Kingdom
    info (@) article19.org
    Fax:+44 20 7278 7660
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
     
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