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Friday, August 6, 1999 Published at 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK


World: Europe

Serbia's Radio B292 threatened

B92 reopened as B292 on Monday

By BBC Belgrade Correspondent Jacky Rowland

The Yugoslav authorities have made an attempt to take the independent Belgrade radio station B292 off the air just days after it resumed its broadcasts.

Kosovo: Special Report
The Yugoslav telecommunications ministry allege the radio has been using its frequency illegally.

Radio B292 has been broadcasting on a frequency belonging to a television company controlled by the controversial opposition politician, Vuk Draskovic.

Back on air

The radio was shut down within days of the start of Nato's bombing campaign and the authorities gave its offices and frequency to a new team of journalists.


[ image: Vuk Draskovic: Journalists say he has promised editorial independence]
Vuk Draskovic: Journalists say he has promised editorial independence
After four months in the wilderness the radio resumed its news and information service at the beginning of this week broadcasting from the premises of studio B - a television and radio company controlled by Mr Draskovic.

The journalists at B292 predicted new trouble from the government and it has come.

Typical tactics

The telecommunications ministry has ordered Studio B to take the radio off the air alleging that the frequency is being used illegally. The ministry said it would take legal action if its orders were not followed.

Studio B has defended itself saying that it notified the authorities in advance about the new arrangement.

These tactics by the government in Belgrade are typical of its attitude towards the independent broadcasters. Legal arguments about frequencies and licences are often used to put pressure on those radio and television stations who refuse to toe the government line.

The telecommunications ministry used a similar argument during the war to try to silence the independent broadcasting company in Pancevo on the outskirts of Belgrade.

Independent broadcasters say they expect these problems and intend to struggle on despite political pressure.



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