CPJ Update: Four Independent Radio Stations are Silenced, Independent Television Station is Shut Down, ANEM Offices Seized, Three Foreign Correspondents Detained.

April 4,1999 — Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s assault on independent journalists continued and intensified this weekend. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a non-partisan organization dedicated to safeguarding press freedom around the world, has documented several alarming new developments, learned on Saturday, April 3, and early Sunday, April 4, 1999.

Thursday, April 1, 1999

  • Radio Jasenica in Smederevska Palanka was shut down. Radio Jasenica is a member of the Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) whose flagship station B92 was shut down on April 2, 1999.

Friday, April 2, 1999

  • At 9:00 a.m. local time, Serbian officials entered ANEM’s offices and expelled all the employees from the building. The police entered without a warrant to enter the premises. As CPJ reported on April 2, radio station B92, a founding member of ANEM, was shut down in the same way at exactly the same time.
  • Radio Senta, a Hungarian language radio station in Kikinda, and the Serbian language radio station Velika Kikinda, also in Kikinda, were shut down. Both stations are members of ANEM and are owned by Zoran Malesevic. Serbian officials confiscated a transmitter and other vital radio equipment.
  • Independent Television Station Cacak in Cacak was shut down. TV Cacak is a member of ANEM.
  • The leadership of independent Radio Ozon has decided to shut down its facilities in an effort to protect their equipment from seizure by the Serbian officials. The radio station has been under the threat of closure for the last week and decided to stop broadcasting as a last resort. Radio Ozon is a member of ANEM.
  • Two Spanish foreign correspondents, Jon Sistiaga Escudero and Bernabe Dominguez Lopez of Telecinco television station, and a Dutch freelance photographer, Arie Kievit of Algemeen Dagblad, were detained. According to Telecinco and Algemeen Dagblad, the reporters were in Macedonia interviewing refugees arriving by train from Kosovo. The train was stopped on the border at the Macedonian town of Jankovic, with one part of the train in Macedonia and the other in Kosovo. The reporters entered the train on the Macedonian side and unwittingly crossed over into Kosovo. They were confronted by the Serbian police and arrested for illegal entry into the country. Arie Kievit was held in jail for 24 hours and taken to a hotel in Pristina, where he was placed under house arrest. The status of the Spanish reporters is unknown; CPJ is seeking further information.

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