Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, May 27, 1999 Published at 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK

Plug pulled on Serb satellite TV

Belgrade's satellite dishes: Knocked out by Nato raids

Belgrade has condemned the decision by the European telecommunications satellite consortium, Eutelsat, to suspend its satellite relay of Serbian TV.

The Yugoslav Government has seen the broadcasts as a key way of getting its message to a wider audience in the outside world.

Representatives of the consortium's 47 member states voted last week, at Germany's suggestion, to halt the broadcasts and the plug was pulled at 1800 GMT on Wednesday.

Kosovo: Special Report
The move does not effect TV broadcasts within Serbia. But transmitters across the country have been a target of Nato raids, and wide areas of the country are now unable to receive a TV signal.

'Strong political pressure from Nato'

Serbian radio has now begun rebroadcasting news programmes from TV. The radio said the Eutelsat move was "another attempt to prevent the dissemination of truth on developments in our country and on crimes being perpetrated against Yugoslavia and its people."

Serb radio said it was "obvious" that the plug had been pulled "under strong political pressure from some Western Nato countries."

[ image: After Nato raids, large parts of Serbia can't get TV]
After Nato raids, large parts of Serbia can't get TV
Belgrade has already registered its displeasure in letters to the International Press Institute and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

On Tuesday, before the shut-down of satellite transmissions, the TV station said it had been "the main source of information for the Western electronic media".

A number of "exclusive Radio-Television Serbia reports" had been "the most frequently used television footage in the European electronic media," the TV told its viewers.

The TV's deputy director-general, Jovan Ristic, told a news conference on Tuesday that the RTS had managed to maintain its news programming thanks to the "superhuman efforts" of its staff.

Mr Ristic, quoted by the official news agency, Tanjug, said that new programming over the next month would include a "War Diary" documentary featuring personal accounts of the conflict.

Possible satellite help from Russia

The Belgrade authorities are now likely to be looking for an alternative to Eutelsat. One possibility might be the use of a Russian satellite.

The Russian new agency Itar-Tass news agency quoted the Chairman of Russia's lower house of parliament, Gennady Seleznyov, as saying that he had written to President Yeltsin urging technical support for Yugoslavia, including the use of Russian-made satellites.

"If the president is willing," Mr Seleznyov was quoted as saying, "this project will be implemented in the near future."

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

26 May 99 | Europe
Serbia: Cracks begin to show

25 May 99 | Monitoring
History damaged by bombs

24 May 99 | Europe
Serb water and power hit

Internet Links

Serbian Ministry of Information

Eyewitness accounts of the bombing


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Uzbekistan voices security concerns

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Russian press split over 'haughty' West