News for March 12th, 1997

The Belgrade students will pursue their struggle for the democratic changes in Serbia, but don't want to either found a party or join the ones already existing, Daliborka Uljarevic, one of the spokesmen for the Student Protest declared today. At a press conference in Budapest, Uljarevic pointed out that the students will take actions even against the oppositional coalition "Zajedno" if it happens to take advantage of its authority. She added that some parties wanted to use the student movement for their purposes, but that the students resisted such attempts.

Approximately 10.000 students of the Belgrade University made a round of certain schools today, on the 111th day of the protest, to demonstrate that they are still on the streets, and not in the classrooms. Tomorrow's protest is scheduled for 14:00 tomorrow, again at the Plato in front of the School of Philosophy.

Vojislav Kostunica, President of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), estimated today that that the draft of the Information Law has the purpose to "consolidate the present regime with a series of manipulations, and not to enable democratization". "This draft doesn't contribute to any version of pluralism" and the law in question only maintains the monopoly of the state media, Kostunica said at a press conference of the DSS.

Bora Kuzmanovic, Vice-president of the Democratic Center, stated today that the draft of the Information Law decree, which prescribes that private television stations cannot cover more than 20 percent of the population, endangers the information distribution and the right of the citizens to be informed from various sources.

Tomorrow at 20:00 in the Serbian Parliament, there will be a panel discussion on the draft of the Information Law. The invitation to attend the panel discussion was sent to all the parties represented in the Parliament, Zoran Djumic, Chief of the Information Service in the Serbian Parliament told the Beta news agency.

A three-day international conference named "The European democracy today" is starting tomorrow in the Institute for European Studies in Belgrade. Approximately twenty scientists and professors of the Belgrade University and the universities from Germany and France will speak at the assembly, which was organized by the Institute for the European Studies, the Goethe Institute, the British Council and the French Cultural Center.

The organization for the defence of the freedom of the press, called "Reporters without boundaries", requested from the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to abandon the draft of the Public Information Law which was recently proposed by the Ministry of Information of Serbia, Beta reports. This organization expressed "grave concern, because of the restrictive draft of the law about the public information in Serbia" and emphasised that the measures suggested by it may seem antimonopolist at first, but actually apply only to the privately owned media.

The representatives of the "Zajedno" coalition will not attend the tomorrow's panel discussion, because, according to its officials: "We did not request a panel, but a round table, which would be more obligatory to the participants. The Democratic Party of Serbia, with President Vojislav Kostunica, won't appear at the panel in question either".

Aleksandar Tijanic, former Minister for Information in the Serbian Government, estimated tonight that the new Information Law will take the Serbian relations with Europe a few steps back and that it will do nothing for the democratization of the society. At the speaker's platform about the future of the media in Serbia, which was organized at the School of Political Sciences by the Student Protest 96/97, Tijanic evaluated the law as "restrictive". The Republic Minister for Information Radmila Milentijevic was also supposed to attend the assembly, but canceled, because of "an urgent trip that could not be postponed". When discussing the regulation of the draft of this new law, by which the electronic media will be limited to 25 percent of the population, Tijanic asked: "How will the state be able to measure those 25 percent?" He rejected the claims that the suggested law is "his deed" while he was the Minister for Information and said that he has his proposal of the law "locked in a drawer".

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