27June97: Belgrade's Nasa Borba Harassed

Catherine Fitzpatrick (europe@ccmail.cpj.org)
Fri, 27 Jun 97 16:18:10 EST

June 26, 1997

His Excellency Slobodan Milosevic
President of Serbia
Fax: +381-11-656-862

Your Excellency,

The Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to protest the
latest harassment of Nasa Borba, a Belgrade-based independent daily

According to Fininvest, the publisher of Nasa Borba, the Serbian
authorities are misusing the tax police to put pressure on the
newspaper. On June 11, government revenue inspectors ordered Fininvest
to pay the dinar equivalent of $76,000 in back taxes.

Fininvest claims that the taxes were already paid in full and has
produced the documentation to confirm its contention but has gotten no
response from officials. Nasa Borba believes that the tax order is
merely a form of harassment in retaliation for the paper's independent

As a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting press freedom
throughout the world, CPJ is concerned that the tax inspections and
the order to pay back taxes are a threat to press freedom. CPJ is
particularly disturbed that the tax police action came only a few days
after Nasa Borba was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom by the World
Association of Newspapers (FIEJ) in Amsterdam.

CPJ reminds you of your international commitments to press freedom and
your personal pledge to CPJ board member Kati Morton to respect the
free media. We are therefore respectfully urging you to ensure that
the punitive taxation order against Nasa Borba is rescinded.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your comments.


William A. Orme, Jr.