CPJ Update: Journalists Caught in the Crossfire

May 13,, 1999 — CPJ Update: Journalists Caught in the Crossfire The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a nonpartisan organization dedicated to safeguarding press freedom around the world, has documented further maltreatment of journalists by Yugoslav authorities, as well as new casualties of NATO’s bombing campaign.

Ashes of Three Killed Journalists Returned to China

* The ashes of three Chinese journalists killed in NATO’s bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade were returned to Beijing on May 12. Shao Yunhuan, 48, a reporter with the official Xinhua News Agency, and newlyweds Xu Xinghu, 29, and Zhu Ying, 27, who both worked for The Guangming Daily, died in the predawn blast on May 8. The journalists were on assignment in Belgrade covering the war. NATO said the embassy bombing was an accident. CPJ has added their names to its list of journalists killed in the line of duty.

German TV Correspondent Released from Yugoslav Detention

* Hans-Peter “Pit” Schnitzler, a correspondent for Germany’s SAT-1 television network, returned to Germany after he was freed from a Yugoslav jail on May 11. Schnitzler told reporters that Serbian authorities had dropped espionage charges against him following an order by President Slobodan Milosevic. Schnitzler was severely beaten during his first week in detention. On the day of his release, Schnitzler was driven to the Croatian border in the middle of the night and ordered to walk across the border. The 56-year-old journalist was released only days after a delegation from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) appealed to Yugoslav officials in his behalf during a visit to Belgrade.

Montenegrin Publisher Charged with Treason

 Miodrag Perovic, the publisher of the independent weekly Monitor in Podgorica, has been charged with treason and is being tried in absentia by a Yugoslav military tribunal. Perovic went into hiding after hearing that Yugoslav federal army authorities were planning to subpoena him in a treason inquiry for an editorial in which he blamed the army for provoking NATO’s attacks on Montenegro and accused them of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

NTV Correspondent Ordered out of Yugoslavia

* Vyacheslav Grunsky, a correspondent with Russia’s independent NTV network, was expelled from Yugoslavia on May 7. Serbian officials offered no explanation for his expulsion. Grunsky’s employers at NTV claimed, however, that he was expelled in retaliation for NTV’s recent reports on human rights violations by Serbian forces in Kosovo. While most Russian media have supported the Serbian position in the Kosovo conflict, in April NTV became the first network to show footage and interview ethnic Albanian deportees from Kosovo in the refugee camps in Albania and Macedonia.

Other Russian TV Crews Harassed

* Two major Russian television networks have recalled their film crews to protest their harassment by Yugoslav authorities, who they claim have deliberately impeded their work. Three film crews from Russia’s public television network ORT, and a correspondent from state-run RTR, left the country this week after Serbian authorities repeatedly prevented them from filming.

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