News for March 15th, 1997

A few thousand Belgrade students set a television set on fire tonight before the entrance to the building of the Radio-television of Serbia (RTS), "because there was no other way for them to alter the image on the screen, which is daily being broadcast by this media house". The students walked the "media route" for the last time on the 114th day of the protest which was caused by the annulment of the citizens' electoral will. They walked besides the buildings of the RTS and "Politika", and for the last time "because they just couldn't lift the darkness from them, although they were been trying to do so for weeks". In their walk, they were joined by many citizens of Belgrade.

The students of the University in Novi Sad demonstrated today under the slogan "BK telefact", demanding the freedom of the media in Serbia. The protest was organized on the account of the new Public Information Law and the announcement of Dragoljub Milanovic, Manager of the state television - RTS, that the BK television will be deprived of the use of transmitters and thus be limited to Belgrade territory only. A group of students walked a few kilometers, from Student Square to the transmitter of the RTS at Miseluk, where the studio of RTS in Novi Sad is located. They performed a program there, named "The alternative BK television".

Vesna Pesic, President of the Civil Alliance of Serbia (GSS), conversed with William De Clerc, Vice-president of the International European Movement, discussing the freedom of the Serbian media, organization of the local authority organs and other issues that are significant to the democratic development of FR Yugoslavia. The announcement of the GSS cites that "one of the most important topics of the today's meeting was the introduction of the European standards in the organizing the local authorities' operation".

The main subject of the today's session of the Alliance of Liberated Cities and Municipalities of Serbia, which was organized in Nis, was the Pool of Independent Televisions (PNT) and its upcoming formation, as well the defence from the exaggerated republic centralization and reprivatization of the confiscated and nationalized property; FoNet reports. The representatives from 33 cities and municipalities presently governed by the "Zajedno" coalition adopted a resolution about the creation of the PNT, which is to go into effect on Monday, March 17th.
Nebojsa Popov, member of the Alliance's Presidency, said that the basic goal of the Pool is opposing the faulty state system of information and finding possibilities for more television and radio stations to be seen and heard in Serbia. The program of the Pool will be taken care of by an Expert Council, formed by the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia and the PNT, it was decided at the session.

Radmila Milentijevic, Minister of Information in the Serbian Government stated to the "Dnevni Telegraf" that she is not in the least concerned by the absence of the "Zajedno" coalition from the panel discussion about the draft of the new Information Law.

Milan Milutinovic - Chief of Yugoslav Diplomacy, Vesna Pesic, Vuk Draskovic and Zoran Djindjic - leaders of the "Zajedno" coalition and Ivan Pravdic - member of the Main Board of the Student Protest 96/97 will meet with Niels Helveg Petersen, President of the OSCE, in Copenhagen on Monday, Beta discovers. The subject of the talks was not announced.

Hans Koschnik, former administrator of the European Union, estimated today in Belgrade that the worthiest trait of the protests in Serbia is their non-violent character and the unification of the political, student and syndical movement, that is not based on either political or ideological grounds, but on the mutual conception of the future. At a press conference in the German Embassy residency, Koschnik said that he arrived in Belgrade in order to get acquainted with the development of events in Serbia.

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