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Date: 1999-01-12

YU: Mirrorsites zertruemmern Zensur

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q/depesche 99.1.12/1
updating 98.12.22/1

YU: Mirrorsites zertruemmern Zensur

Wer filtert & blockiert beziehungsweise die Verbreitung von
Nachrichten im Netz behindert, wird binnen eines Monats mit
Mirrorsites bestraft & der Lächerlichkeit preisgegeben. Dies
widerfuhr den Belgrader Zensoren, als sie die Website von
Radio B 92 blockierten & zusehen mussten, wie sich der
verbotene Inhalt im Netz vervielfachte.

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Julie Moffett
11 January 1999 A Serbian expert on electronic media says
efforts by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to censor
electronic media in his country have been largely a failure.
Drazen Pantic, director of the Internet Department of the
independent Serbian station Radio B-92, made the comment
last week in Washington during a press briefing on Serbian
media issues.
Radio B-92 was the first media outlet in Serbia to use the
Internet to provide an alternative source for uncensored news.
It began doing so in December 1996, during anti-government
demonstrations in Serbia, when thousands protested the
government's annulment of municipal elections. Radio B92
broadcasts were sporadically jammed and the radio's
transmitter eventually shut off. In an interview with RFE/RL in
April 1997, Veran Matic, editor-in-chief of Radio B-92, said
that during this turbulent time, Radio B-92 turned to the
Internet. He said B-92 posted print versions of its newscasts
on its web site and also began using RealAudio, which
allows users to listen to on-line broadcasts over the Internet.
Matic said that two days after the B-92 transmitter was
turned off, the government--apparently realizing it could not
stop the dissemination of information and programming via
the Internet--turned it back on. Matic said the students, who
were the mainstay of the demonstrations, were energized by
B-92's victory and began referring to it as their "Internet
Revolution." Speaking in Washington last week, Pantic said
that it was B-92's success that unleashed the power of the
Internet for all independent media in Serbia. He added that its
effect and potential also greatly alarmed the Serbian
government. For example, Pantic said that the new media
law in Serbia includes attempts to try and control the
Pantic also said the Serbian government has put filters on
independent media web sites, including B- 92's, thereby
preventing Internet users in Serbia from accessing those
sites. For example, officials put filters on the Serbian
Academic Network, blocking access to B-92's web site.
Pantic noted that there was no official announcement about
the filter and that the move was simply done "overnight." But
he added that B-92 was easily able to get around the filters
by setting up "mirror pages,"
"The government can't filter every mirror site," he explained
with a smile. Pantic said that within a few weeks of setting
up the filters on the Serbian Academic Network, the
government partly lifted them. Officials finally realized they
were unable to block the mirror sites and stop the information
from being disseminated, he added. But perhaps the biggest
irony of the situation, says Pantic, is that the government
has been unable to prevent the electronic mail distribution of
B-92 news. He says the station currently has a subscriber
list of about 30,000 people.
Gene Mater, a retired broadcast journalist and adviser to the
U.S.-based Freedom Forum also spoke at last week's
briefing, saying that Serbia's new media law dashes any
hope for a free press in Serbia. Mater said he had the
Serbian law analyzed by a Washington law firm that has
extensive experience in dealing with Central and East
European media laws. According to Mater, the law firm
determined that the Serbian media law is a "blatantly
unconstitutional exercise in media censorship, intimidation,
and punishment that cannot stand under either Serbian or
international law."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol
3, No. 6, Part II

relayed by
David Banisar <>

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