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Yugoslavia: Sampling Of State-Controlled Media Reveals Slanted Kosovo Coverage

  • Robert McMahon

Prague,12 April 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Since the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia began, a number of independent media in the region have been either stifled or shut down. State-controlled media, especially in Serbia, have regularly issued reports exaggerating real events or fabricating them. The following are excerpts from some recent reports from state-controlled media. The reports have not been confirmed:

Serbian party says missing refugees are NATO propaganda ploy

BIJELJINA -- The NATO propaganda machine knows all too well that the 40,000 missing "Kosovo refugees" from the refugee camp in Macedonia are not Kosovo Albanian refugees, or refugees at all, but Albanian civilians from Macedonia, who set up a bogus camp in order to inflate the proportions of the humanitarian catastrophe, the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) has said.

"Having played the roles assigned to them, they returned to their homes, while NATO film directors are now searching for them with mock concern," the SPO said. The SPO said in today's statement that after the aggression against Serbia, a Guinness book of propaganda infamy should be opened for NATO and the Western media.

(Text of report by the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA, April 8)

Kosovo premier says life returning to normal in capital

PRISTINA -- The president of the provisional executive council of Kosovo-Metohija, Zoran Andjelkovic, said at a council session that the Nazi-fascist NATO alliance targeted with brutal force civilian buildings in the center of Pristina, yet another crime in a series of unprecedented crimes against humanity that deserve the heaviest punishment.

The center of Pristina has been destroyed, which represented the symbol of coexistence in the region and beneath the rubble are buried children, women, Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Romanies, innocent victims of the horrific insanity, Andjelkovic said, according to a statement of the provincial Information Secretariat. The statement also pointed out that despite the Nazi bombardment, life was returning to normal as far as it is possible, and that road are open for all citizens to move freely throughout Kosovo-Metohija.

(Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug on April 8)

Serbs Suffer Defeat in Battle with KLA

VUCITRN (northern Kosovo) -- Last night in Stantkrg during the hours 1800-1830, a fierce battle in vicinity of 100 meters has taken place between the units of KLA and the occupation Serbian forces. The enemy has left 10 soldiers killed and many others wounded in this battle, while there have been no losses from our side.

Today, the Serbian criminal police forces from Gojbula and Bajska have bombarded the villages of Samadrexhk, Ceceli and Studime. The Serbian terrorists have mined and destroyed two mosques in Vushtrri to incriminate NATO bombardments. The Serbian forces have retreated from the barracks of Mitrovica two hours before the bombardments from NATO warplanes.

(Kosovo Liberation Army's Kosovapress news agency web site, April 8)

Serbian deputy premier says Kosovo rebels "destroyed"

BELGRADE -- The NATO aggressors did not expect such well-organized and conducted resistance by the Yugoslav Army and Serbian Interior Ministry; they were convinced that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would not hold out for more than three days under the blows of their cruise missiles, the president of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) [and Serbian Deputy Premier], Vojislav Seselj, said at a news conference in Belgrade.

He added that the option of ground aggression was being studied more and more carefully in the West, but that US strategists were wondering which nation's troops could be used as cannon fodder now that the [Kosovo Liberation Army] was destroyed.

Seselj said that the actions by some German and French soldiers, who were simply throwing down their weapons and leaving, because they had been duped into believing that they were on a peace mission, showed that the Western public would reach a point when it would become aware of the perfidious US plan to subjugate all of Europe, which would bring the NATO alliance into question.

(Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA, April 8)

NATO attacked civilian targets in central Serbia

KRALJEVO, Serbia -- Wednesday night's NATO air strikes on the populated areas in the Kraljevo municipality targeted the villages of Bogutovac, Ladjevci, Zica and Beranovac.

Half an hour after midnight, NATO dropped 22 missiles on Bogutovac, mainly on the part with workers' homes, damaging the medical center, the railway station and the power house, and burning down the primary school, the local civil defense center said.

In the week before Orthodox Christian Easter, the biggest holiday of the Christian world, the NATO criminals' missiles have targeted the 13th-century Zica monastery, a symbol of the Serbian religion and state, but fortunately it was not destroyed.

(Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug, April 8)

German soldiers in Macedonia Flee to Greece

BELGRADE -- As we have learned from sources close to the ministry of Defense of Macedonia, 1,500 soldiers of the German brigade, who are members of the NATO criminal forces deployed in Macedonia, threw down their weapons this evening and fled to Greece. The German soldiers have left an empty camp behind them. Weapons have been thrown all over the place.

(Belgrade RTS SAT Television, Government-controlled station, April 8)

UCK (KLA) Fighters Gaining Strength; Serb soldiers deserting

TIRANA -- Now let us hear a report from the Information Section of the General Staff of the UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) about today's developments in various parts of Kosovo. Hajdin Abazi is on the telephone line:

(Abazi) Today began with the bombardment of Serb aviation in Kosova. Taking advantage of the absence of foreign journalists, the murderer Milosevic wants to fool the international public by claiming that the displacement of Albanians from Kosova is taking place due to NATO air strikes. He is deliberately ignoring the fact that NATO launched its air strikes after he began to expel Albanians from Kosova. Milosevic is also lying when he claims that the UCK is defeated. The reality is quite different. ...

There are daily reports of desertions by Serb soldiers and of their objections to fighting. The Serbs tried to fool the public with their unilateral cease-fire because they can no longer cope with the high rate of desertion, which is caused both by the NATO strikes and the attacks from all sides by the UCK.

(Tirana TVSH Television Network, April 8)

NATO Casualty Figure At Least 50

MOSCOW -- NATO casualties from the beginning of the military operation of the alliance against Yugoslavia are at least 50, Tass learnt from reliable Russian military sources on Friday.

The NATO command denies reports about casualties of member countries of the alliance in Yugoslavia, acknowledging only the fact that three US servicemen were taken prisoner in Kosovo.

(Russian state-controlled news agency Itar-Tass, April 9)

Yugoslav Army shoots down eight NATO planes

MOSCOW -- The Yugoslav Army has shot down eight NATO planes and more than 30 cruise missiles, Russian General Staff chief Anatoly Kvashnin said at a press conference in the Duma on Wednesday.

In the eyes of a military professional, NATO's operation against Yugoslavia is not unfolding to NATO's advantage despite its massive superiority in weaponry and force, Kvashnin said.

"This speaks lots," he said.

(Itar-Tass, March 31)

Newspaper reports Serb massacre of 51 ethnic Kosovo Albanians

SKOPJE -- Skopje-based independent daily paper in Albanian "Fakti" on Thursday (8 April) reported Serbian forces killed and massacred 51 ethnic Kosovo Albanians, including 12 children. The massacre took place near Orahovac, 60km south-west of Kosovo capital Pristina, where the bodies of the killed were found, the daily said, adding among the victims were also women and the elderly. "Fakti" also mentions suspicions that late last week Serbian forces killed at least 100 ethnic Kosovo Albanians from Ljubenica, a village in western Kosovo, and that 35 bodies have been identified. The daily brings the statement of a witness who personally saw three tractors with trailers full of corpses which the police buried in a mass grave at the town cemetery in Pristina.

(Hina, Croation government press agency, April 8)

BELGRADE -- The Information Ministry of the Republic of Serbia believes that the NATO criminals' latest threats to destroy Radio Television Serbia is yet another attempt to suppress the truth about the failures of their murderous actions aimed at occupying our country, the ministry said today.

In these threats the information ministry has recognized the fear of a murderer and is calling on the domestic and foreign public and all journalists in the world to raise their voice in defense of journalists suffering as a result of NATO's criminal aggression.

We are sharing the fate of thousands of Serbian journalists and our message to the NATO murderers is that they can destroy buildings but they cannot destroy the truth.

(Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug, April 8)