2 October 1997


Authorities dismiss top management at Studio B television

Incident details

Zoran Ostojic, Lila Radonjic


legal action

(CPJ/IFEX) - On 30 September 1997, after ousting the opposition
mayor of Belgrade, Zoran Djindjic, from office, the combined
forces of the Serbian Socialists, Radicals and the Renewal
Movement moved to sack the top management at the popular
municipal television station Studio B TV and replace them with
their own supporters. Zoran Ostojic and Lila Radonjic, the
director and editor-in-chief, respectively, of Studio B TV, were
dismissed from their posts. They were quickly replaced by the
station's former director, Dragan Kojadinovic. (It was
Kojadinovic's program policies favouring the Serbian war lobby
which prompted over 100 employees to quit the station in 1993.)

The station's entire board of directors was also sacked and
replaced by members of the Serbian Renewal Movement, the Radical
and Socialist parties. Aleksander Cotric, a member of Vuk
Draskovic's Renewal Movement, was appointed to head the new

Since the mass demonstrations in 1996 that brought the opposition
to power in Belgrade and other cities, Ostojic and Radonjic
helped make Studio B TV more diverse and professional. Before
losing control of the station, the staff of Studio B TV broadcast
live footage of the unfolding events, as well as calls to
citizens to attend an evening opposition rally.

Several thousand Belgrade residents demonstrated on 30 September
in the city centre against the removal of Djindjic and the
managers of Studio B TV. Scores of police wielding batons beat
and detained protesters. The Association of Independent
Electronic Media (ANEM) in Serbia has protested the hasty,
politically-motivated overthrow of Studio B TV's management, whom
they regarded as impartial and professional. ANEM leaders
complained that the television officials were dismissed without
public knowledge and expressed fear that the new managers would
place party interests before the public interest.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • objecting to such blatant interference by political forces into
    the personnel and editorial policies of any media outlet, be it
    public or privately-owned
  • condemning the removal of the managers of Studio B TV as a
    politically-motivated attempt to silence the only alternative
    television station in Belgrade
  • pointing out that the dismissals violate all international norms
    on press freedoms and President Slobodan Milosevic's personal
    pledge to CPJ to guarantee the rights of journalists and media
    organizations to work freely, without political interference, and
    to ensure a diversity of views in the media

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Slobodan Milosevic
    Republic of Serbia
    Fax: +381 11 656 862 / 682 167 / 682 850 / 636 775

    His Excellency Zoran Lilic
    Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
    Fax: +381 11 656 862 / 682 167

    Ministry of Information
    Republic of Serbia
    Fax: +381 11 685 937 / 659 370
    e-mail: mirs@eunet.yu

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Committee to Protect Journalists
    330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10001
    info (@) cpj.org
    Fax:+1 212 4659568

    IFEX members working in this country 1

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