21 October 1998


Serbia adopts restrictive information law

Incident details

legal action

(AMARC/IFEX) - The following is a 20 October 1998 statement by the
Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) distributed in its
entirety by AMARC:

**Updates IFEX alert of 20 October 1998**
The Serbian Parliament has adopted the new Law on Public Information of the
Republic of Serbia

The new law:

  • introduces the supposition of guilt on the media. The media will be
    guilty as soon as the state charges them for a misdemeanor, until they prove
    the contrary. Such shameful legal regulation is unimagineable in any modern
    legal system;

  • introduces enormous fines and ruthless trial procedures for so-called
    media misdemeanors. The aim is not only to stifle the media and rob them of
    any means they have, but also to ruin chief editors and journalists both
    financially and socially;

  • introduces a ban on listening to foreign radio stations which
    broadcast in
    Serbian. A similar ban existed only during the fascist occupation of Serbia
    during World War Two;

  • abolishes and destroys what little freedom there was in the media
    field in
    Serbia that helped counterbalance the hate-speech and chauvinistic hysteria
    generated by the state and para-state media; and,

  • introduces an absolute open dictatorship and information blackout, which
    will result in the inevitable decay of the state and the nation.

    During the parliamentary reading of the law, representatives of the ruling
    coalition made grave and vehement accusations and threats against the
    independent media. Most notable was Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav
    Seselj, who described independent editors as NATO officers and Javier
    Solana, "the man who decided on the bombing and
    destruction of Serbia and killings of its citizens," as their chief editor.

    "The new law is the most restrictive and scandalous law to ever regulate
    public information in Serbia. ANEM will do everything in its power to enable
    its affiliates to continue their professional reporting. ANEM will use all
    legal remedies provided in the Serbian and Yugoslav legal systems to have
    all unconstitutional and illegal regulations of the new law annulled," said
    Veran Matic, ANEM chairman.

    For the full text of ANEM's preliminary legal analysis of the first draft of
    the Law on Public Information please visit the media watch section of Radio
    B92's home page at http://www.b92.net.

  • Source

    World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
    705, rue Bourget, bureau 100, Montreal
    Qubec, H4C 2M6
    secgen (@) si.amarc.org
    Fax:+1 514 8497129

    IFEX members working in this country 1

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