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Sunday, March 28, 1999 Published at 11:01 GMT

Serb TV targets Nato 'madness'

State-run Serb TV showed pictures of bomb damage

As Yugoslavia took stock after a third night of Nato air strikes, state-run Serbian TV struck a defiant tone on Saturday, telling its viewers that they should be proud of their "unity and courage" in the face of Nato's "madness".

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"Today is the fourth day since Nato started to bomb Yugoslavia, and it is continuing its madness. Why? It is difficult to explain hatred, blindness, irrationality, and morality, or rather immorality, with reason," the presenter of the TV's morning programme, Jutarni Program, told viewers.

"Things are as they are, it is not up to us to feel ashamed, but to feel proud of our unity and courage," the presenter added.

Serbian TV's morning programme also featured interviews with Belgrade citizens on the strikes and video footage of anti-Nato rallies abroad, including two-day-old footage of gatherings in Moscow, Toronto and the Macedonian capital Skopje.

Images on Belgrade TV aim to boost the patriotic spirit
Throughout the day, its hourly TV news bulletins were interspersed with music programmes, pop videos and old films.

Three-minute video montages, showing soldiers and military hardware, and accompanied by patriotic songs, continued to precede many news broadcasts.

The satellite service of Serbian TV also broadcast brief, and seemingly random, bulletins in English. One such bulletin on Saturday included footage of citizens taking refuge in shelters and pictures of a damaged medical facility, said by the TV to be a hospital in Nis which was hit on Thursday.

Sleepless night

Other broadcast media continued their extensive reporting of the strikes. Belgrade radio presented frequent news bulletins, and a mix of light music and patriotic songs interspersed with comments from Belgrade citizens on the strikes.

The reporting of the latest Nato action suggested that many Belgrade citizens endured a sleepless night.

[ image: Patriotic video montages preceded news bulletins]
Patriotic video montages preceded news bulletins
Belgrade's independent B92 radio said the all clear was sounded in the city at 0425 GMT. Nato missiles struck several targets on the outskirts of the city, Serbian TV reported, showing footage of large blazes at Rusanj and Lipovicka Suma, south of Belgrade.

"The strikes were carried out by cruise missiles," the TV said.

Elsewhere, B92 reported that the Novi Sad area of northern Serbia had been targeted "to a great extent".

In Montenegro, three missiles landed near Golubovac military airport and a military training ground north of the capital Podgorica was targeted, the Tanjug news agency said.

In Kosovo, Nato raids destroyed an ammunition depot near Gnjilane in the eastern part of the province, Serbian radio said. Army barracks in the town were also hit.

'Crime against humanity'

The media also gave wide coverage to the damage said to have been inflicted on civilian facilities. On Friday night Belgrade TV warned viewers to go to shelters because Nato was bombing Belgrade and had hit "civilian facilities", including an area containing student accommodation and a child care institute. The TV promised updates throughout the night on the activities of the "Nato killers". <,P> Two cruise missiles hit a hospital in Nis, southern Serbia, in Friday's raids, Serbian TV reported early on Saturday. "This was a crime against humanity, and since crimes cannot be forgotten, time will see to it that the generals and pilots who made the decision to bomb Nis hospital are tried," it said.

A Serbian Orthodox monastery at Gracanica, near the Kosovo capital Pristina, was also hit, B92 reported.

The Belgrade-based news agency Beta gave a flavour of life between the raids, noting that food shops and markets were open in the city, but adding that fewer people were around than usual.

If the window blinds were anything to go by, most people were trying to catch up on their sleep after another night in air-raid shelters, it said.

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