29Sept97: Opposition Newspaper Bombed in Republika Srpska

Catherine Fitzpatrick (europe@ccmail.cpj.org)
Mon, 29 Sep 97 22:18:36 EST

September 29, 1997

Momcilo Krajisnik
Serbian Representative
to the Bosnian Joint Presidency
Bosnia Herzegovina

Your Excellency,

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to condemn the
explosion in the late evening of September 27 that destroyed the
editorial offices of Alternativa, the only alternative newspaper in
the Bosnian Serb town of Doboj.

Although no one was injured by the blast, the newspaper's offices were
destroyed and several adjacent apartments were damaged. A fire broke
out and threatened to spread to neighboring buildings. Local
authorities have not yet identified the cause of the explosion.

The blast was the second attack in a month on Alternativa, which is
owned and edited by Milovan Stankovic, a retired Bosnian Serb army
colonel and a supporter of Plavsic in her political conflict with
rival ultra-nationalist leaders in Pale. The explosion has been
interpreted as a sign that the power struggle between President
Plavsic, who is supported by the West, and indicted war criminal
Radovan Karadzic has been renewed despite recent agreements between
them to share control of television broadcasts.

On August 28, the offices of Alternativa were sprayed with bullets by
an unidentified gunman with an automatic weapon. The assailant also
threw a hand grenade into the newspaper's offices. The local
headquarters of the Socialist Party, which is tied to Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic's socialists in Serbia, were also
attacked the same day. Stankovic, who is a board member of the party,
accused Karadzic's backers in Pale of initiating the attacks.

As a nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of our
colleagues around the world, CPJ condemns such terrorist actions
against Alternativa. These violent attempts to silence the sole
alternative provider of news in Doboj violates all international
norms, as well as the provisions for press freedoms in the Dayton
Accords. As a signatory of the Dayton Peace Agreement, you are
obligated to guarantee the rights of journalists and media outlets to
freely and safely practice their profession and ensure a diversity of
views in the media.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your reply and your


William A. Orme, Jr.
Executive Director