Radio B 92, Belgrade, wins IPI "Free Media Pioneer" award
(IPI/IFEX) - The following is the full text of a press release issued by IPI
on 16 April 1998:
Radio B 92, the principal independent radio station in Serbia, has been
named by the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI), the
global network of editors and media executives, as the "Free Media Pioneer"
of 1998. The station, represented by director and co-founder Sasa Mirkovic,
will receive the award on Wednesday, 27 May 1998, at the IPI World Congress
Sasa Mirkovic will be in Vienna to speak about the current situation of the
media in Serbia on Monday, 20 April 1998. This lecture, part of the IPI
series of dinner lectures featuring "Top Media Representatives", will mark
the occasion on which IPI officially announces B 92 as the recipient of this
year's "Free Media Pioneer" award.
Since its beginning in 1989, B 92's broadcasts have been critical of
government, anti-war, and based on human rights. Over the years, the station
has had to fight to elude government efforts to shut it down. It was first
banned in March 1991 and again in December 1996 amid the wave of street
protests after President Slobodan Milosevic's government canceled the
results of local elections won by the opposition. On that occasion, B 92 was
repeatedly jammed, then shut down altogether, but it went on
operating via the Internet until international protest forced the
authorities to reopen the station after only two days.
With Serbia's elections now over, the state propaganda machine remains as
vital as ever for President Milosevic's hold on power. Anticipating further
trouble, B-92 established the Association of Independent Electronic Media
(ANEM), a network of independent local radio stations throughout Serbia and
Montenegro. ANEM currently provides 32 radio stations covering 70 per cent
of the country with daily news and information programming, as well as
professional development, legal support and training opportunities, thereby
offering an alternative to state-controlled broadcasting and helping to
build the conditions for free media and democracy in Yugoslavia. B 92
intends to establish a similar network of independent local TV stations.
IPI believes that a free and pluralistic media is vital to ensure lasting
peace and democracy in the former Yugoslavia. Therefore, in recognition of
B 92's ongoing work in the development and protection of independent
electronic media in Serbia and Montenegro, and in order to mobilize and
encourage international support for its efforts, IPI has decided to award B
92 with the IPI "Free Media Pioneer '98" award.