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 »  Home  »  Politics  »  (E) Armed SFOR soldiers raid the HTV Mostar and Croatian Radio Mostar premises
(E) Armed SFOR soldiers raid the HTV Mostar and Croatian Radio Mostar premises
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  11/18/2001 | Politics | Unrated
(E) Armed SFOR soldiers raid the HTV Mostar and Croatian Radio Mostar premises
HEADLINES, Thursday, November 15, 2001 
Source: Dnevni List, November 14, 2001 
 
Armed SFOR soldiers raid the HTV Mostar and Croat Radio Mostar premises 
 
Yesterday at 10 o'clock, members of the SFOR unit of a mixed composition 
raided into the premises of the Croat Radio Mostar and HTV Mostar. Allegedly, 
according to them, it is about an inspection, which was announced earlier and 
which is a part of the mandate of the SFOR Mission in BiH. French and Spanish 
soldiers were armed with Heckler rifles, and they were communicating through 
handsets. 
 
 
Weapons talk 
 
 
The appearance of armed SFOR members frightened the personel of two media 
outlets and introduced considerable unrest among Croatian journalists. All 
of this reminded of the earlier military actions taken against EROTEL, 
Hercegovacka Banka, Mostar's Municipal Councli, and others. However, this 
time SFOR's target was the Croatian media and journalists, whose rights were 
trampled on in the most brutal was by the 'Peace Stabilization Forces'. 
According to one of the officers, who were standing at the entrance of the 
building and who wanted to remain anonymous, SFOR conducted the 'inspection' 
in accordance with the order from the CRA from Sarajevo and in coordination 
with their commanding officer in the Ortijes military base near Mostar. 
According to Josef Macrey, the SFOR Spokesperson in Sarajevo, this is about 
"a routine, announced control, whose purpose is to verify whether the 
communication equipment of these media outlets is in accordance with the 
Dayton Peace Agreement". To our question whether he is aware of the fact 
that the Dayton Peace agreement was signed six years ago whether he is aware 
of the fact that the DPA was signed 6 years ago, we did not get a 
satisfactory answer, except that obligations from the Agreement are being 
implemented. 
 
 
The CRA is responsible?! 
 
 
We contacted the CRA and received an answer from Amela Odobasic, who told us, 
after checking, that the CRA did not issue any order for the raid of these 
two media outlets. However, according to well-informed sources, close to the 
CRA, it is claimed that the CRA, "after a series of gathered information from 
viewers, and others, the CRA decided to suggest to SFOR to conduct an 
inspection, which is part of the SFOR mandate for BiH, in which they can also 
execute unannounced inspections 
 
 
Fear and uneasiness 
 
 
To our question whether the CRA will protect the Croat electronic media, Mrs. 
Odobasic told us that the CRA can only suggest to SFOR not to be violent 
towards the staff and journalists, but that SFOR inspections are a part of 
their mandate. 
 
 
We received a few statements, from journalists who requested to remain 
anonymous, which stated that the SFOR soldiers were not violent, they were 
polite, but their showing up fully armed scared and disturbed them, because 
that isn't an appropriate manner for conducting any sort of inspection. 
 
 
Successful "Inspection 
 
 
According to Vlatko Menix, the Head of the HTV Mostar, the SFOR officers 
behaved decently and the inspection was executed successfully. Tomislav 
Mazal, the Head of the Croat Radio Mostar, stated that the inspection in his 
media outlet was executed without any problems and the SFOR soldiers behaved 
decently. 
 
 
SFOR breached Dayton? 
 
 
Many people believe that the DPA was severely violated by this raid of 
military forces into premises of the media outlets, and that this case should 
be examined exclusively because of such behavior of the SFOR. Also, a few 
International Charters on Rights and Freedom of Media have been violated and 
nothing, including the SFOR and its mandate, can justify this. One TV 
technician told us: "'At the moment, when I was working on a TV report, an 
armed solder showed up at the door and I was so scared that I did not know 
how to behave. I was only thinking as to how to leave the premises, but I was 
not allowed to, at first. Later on they allowed me to leave the room." A 
journalist, who wanted to remain anonymous, stated: "I have never 
experienced such violent act and if the price of freedom is my life, then I 
will pay the price.' 
 
From foreign press office: fpo-mostar@pincom.net 
distributed by CROWN (Croatian World Net) - CroworldNet@aol.com 
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