|Volume 18, Number 3||The CPSR Newsletter||Summer 2000|
|Veran Matic Statement||by Veran Matic|
When I began preparing for this trip to Seattle I had planned to discuss the experiences of our radio and our media association with new technologies in resisting repression in Yugoslavia. We were also to discuss the role of new technologies in the promotion of human rights, freedom of expression and all other freedoms. For me, the most important part was to do with our development. We expected the repression to increase and we expected to be in a situation where we would have to be very creative in order to survive and continue operating under a dictatorship.
We hoped to complete these important preparations and to be ready for a steamy autumn when the first elections are due. I had wanted, here in Seattle, to present the projects we hoped would help us operated much more efficiently. These included new networking technology and new means of distributing information, research, training and other projects.
In the meantime, unfortunately, we have been banned for the fourth time in our history. Several other media went down with us. We have had to resort to every possible alternative form of broadcasting. In situations such as this, it is extremely important that the lines of communication are maintained. During the ban of 1996, we fought back alone with the help of the Internet and satellite. Our position is now much easier because we now have a network of more than fifty radio and television stations which continuously receive our programs, produced by journalists in various locations.
Within hours of the police occupation of our studios we were able to resume production of news programs. These are relayed to local stations around the country via satellite. Net-Radio has been launched and we are preparing for 24-hour-a-day satellite broadcasts. We also deliver packages of our television program to local stations. Where necessary these are distributed on ordinary VHS cassettes which are then screened in town squares, clubs and cafes. Our text news bulletin is printed out from our website and distributed by hand in Belgrade and in towns in the heartland of Serbia. We hope to be able to secure FM coverage of Belgrade within a couple of days, effectively overcoming the ban.
Each of these moves, of course, increases the danger to us. The regime can no longer back down. It has accused us of terrorism and all that that entails. This is a clear signal that we have entered the final stage of the struggle for democracy and that the regime has entered the final stage of its struggle against everyone who wants to see democracy in Yugoslavia today.
If the opposition fails to achieve a stronger unity we will reach a situation in which we will be isolated, even from one another.
EVERY BROADCASTER TODAY NEEDS HELP SO THAT EVERYONE COULD PUT UP RESISTANCE TO BANS AND RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED ON THEIR WORK AS SUCCESSFULLY AS POSSIBLE. LARGE CAPACITY, HIGHER INTERNET BANDWIDTH AS WELL AS THE MEANS FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS ARE ESSENTIAL PREREQUISITES.
Each new attack can be expected to be more brutal than the last. In order to be able to respond rapidly and decisively we need the best possible communication technology.
Just yesterday Deputy Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj, announced that he would never again allow B2-92 back on the air and that the Association of Independent Electronic Media, of which B2-92 is the founder, would also be banned. He went on to say that we would be reduced to satellite broadcasts.
I don't suffer from the delusion that Serbia will be a paradise after the change of government. It is going to be very difficult after that change, and the experience and knowledge we have and will acquire will be very important in the promotion of human rights and freedoms in the period of transition. This will be a time when we will have to struggle with the menaces of modern totalitarianism, commercialism, the drive for profit, soft democracy and pseudo-freedom. What we are able to acquire now as assistance in a technological sense will enable us to catch up the years we now lag behind in comparison to developments in the rest of the world.
I would like to thank Geert Lovink for all his assistance to us over the years, Mike Weisman who has also been dedicated to our cause for years, Doug Schuler who tried to help me better present our activities and needs, and all of you, my virtual associates in Seattle now.
You can support the B92 work! Please send your check to Media Development Loan Fund, 45 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10010. Throughout its ten years of existence, Radio B92 has always striven to uphold the right to a free press and freedom of expression in the former and present Yugoslavia. Indicate on your check that the money should go to "Free B92."
© Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
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