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 »  Home  »  Media Watch  »  (E) 1000 Euros from Belgrade to Split for Feral Tribune
(E) 1000 Euros from Belgrade to Split for Feral Tribune
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  03/12/2002 | Media Watch | Unrated
(E) 1000 Euros from Belgrade to Split for Feral Tribune
  
Op-ed 
Please do not send messages like "why did you put this letter up on the web". You have to be able to read between the lines. The reason is to know. If you know you can change it and if you don't you cannot. Right or wrong. Although I am tempted to send more letters on this subject, I still focus on Croatia. We have been focused on other things for too long. 
nb 
 
B92 journalists in act of solidarity with Feral Tribune 
  
 BELGRADE, Monday ń Journalists from Belgradeís Radio Television B92 
 have made a donation of 1,000 Euros to Split weekly Feral Tribune 
 following their having been fined 200,000 Croatian kunas and the 
 blocking of their bank accounts. 
  
 B92 sees this as an obvious attempt to crush critical opinion in 
 Croatia and calls on other broadcasters and publishers to join 
 institutions fighting for the freedom of speech in this solidarity 
 action. 
  
 For societies on their way out of totalitarianism, the status of 
 media is the most obvious test for democracy. The status of media 
 in all post-war societies of the former Yugoslavia is proportionate 
 to the quality of change and democratisation. 
  
 In Kosovo, international control has been established over the most 
 influential broadcaster: Radio Television Kosovo. This had the 
 unfortunate result of shelving the development of independent media. 
 I recently had the opportunity to see the inadequate conditions 
 under which Kohavision TV is operating, two years after the bombing. 
  
 Independent media have not even begun to evolve in Montenegro, 
 having fallen into the trap of fighting for national independence, 
 which has frequently taken priority over the professional 
 development and independence of the media. 
  
 In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the international experiment with OBN TV has 
 failed and this territory is in a constantly experimental phase with 
 a negative attitude to independent media, which are kept at a 
 disadvantage with respect to state media. 
  
 In Serbia, no single piece of legislation applying to the media 
 field has been adopted. Instead, a moratorium on frequency 
 distribution was introduced, which provided for protČgČs of the 
 Milosevic regime to keep their privileges by relying on the laws of 
 the market. It is more than obvious that these companies have close 
 ties to the new authorities. The murders of publisher Slavko 
 Curuvija and journalist Milan Pantic have not been solved. NIN 
 editor Stevan Niksic has been sentenced to five yearsí imprisonment. 
 The fact that media no longer face astronomical fines has 
 unfortunately not influenced their legal security and status. 
  
 A lack of tolerance for independent media and dissident opinion is 
 also part of the continuity with the former authorities in Croatia. 
 I have no doubt that Feral Tribune is a stumbling block for any 
 authorities because of the high moral standards set by journalists 
 and editors. 
  
 The inability to establish a process of facing our own past imposes 
 the need for the independent media to continue their role as a 
 public service, because no real public service media exist. Not 
 only is this in direct opposition to the interests of the public, 
 but the post-war governments, consisting mainly of broad coalitions 
 often with contradictory programs, are thus the direct successors of 
 wartime governments, nationalist, chauvinist and frequently criminal. 
  
 The refusal to critically consider the recent past and to establish 
 the truth about crimes and responsibility for them is a common 
 feature of these governments. The principle of communicating 
 vessels still works today, just as in the time when Tudjman and 
 Milosevic would occasionally help each other out by drawing 
 attention away in crisis situations. Three Croats not delivered to 
 the Hague Tribunal are an excellent excuse for not delivering five 
 Serbs. Ignoring cooperation with the Tribunal in Bosnia works 
 directly against legislation on cooperation in Serbia. The fact that 
 there are no trials in local courts in Serbia slows down trials in 
 Croatian courts and makes them meaningless. 
  
 The same applies to independent media. The lack of resolve to 
 really free the media space in Croatia hinders this process in other 
 parts of South-East Europe and vice versa. The former political 
 domination of the media will be replaced by the domination of media 
 moguls. Strong independent media are an obstacle because they 
 insist on questioning democracy in societies which control truth and 
 critical consciousness. 
  
 These new threats will be difficult to oppose, but we can make it a 
 challenge for all of us. Now more than ever it is necessary to 
 unite the forces in the region because a situation such as that in 
 which Feral Tribune now finds itself could await any one of us 
 tomorrow. 
  
 The international community too must learn a less from cases such as 
 this. The international community must not make compromises with 
 governments in the region for short-term interests in the matter of 
 the stateís attitude to independent critical voices. Every 
 compromise costs us dearly because it results in the crushing of 
 criticism, the slowing down of the democratisation process and 
 prevents the public from prospering. 
  
 Veran Matic 
 Editor in Chief, RTV B92 
 Belgrade 
 
via 
Danny Schechter 
Executive Editor Mediachannel.org 
http://www.mediachannel.org 
Executive Producer, Globalvision.Inc 
1600 Broadway, #700 NY NY 10019 USA 
 
 
Distributed by www.CroatianWorld.net. This message is intended for Croatian Associations/Institutions and their Friends in Croatia and in the World. The opinions/articles expressed on this list do not reflect personal opinions of the moderator. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, 
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