17 August 2001, Volume
WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISTS E-GROUP.
More than 7,000 journalists from 67 countries gather at this Internet address with the goal of promoting education, understanding, and environmental awareness through accurate reporting of local, regional, and international environmental and development issues. For more information, visit http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/environmentaljournalists (Center for Civil Society International, 16 August)
HUMAN RIGHTS CHAMPION HARASSES JOURNALIST.
Paruir Airikyan, chairperson of the Human Rights Committee under the Armenian president, has forbidden Anna Israelyan, correspondent of the "Aravot" newspaper, to attend the committee's meetings. Airikyan explained his decision by stating that the newspaper published articles which were, in Airikyan's opinion, false and libelous. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")PROMOTING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES.
President Robert Kocharian decreed the establishment of a Council for Promoting Information Technologies on 20 July. The prime minister will chair the Council. The Council consists of nine members representing IT companies who will be rotated every six months. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")I.T. IN ARMENIA: STATISTICS.
According to the Union of Armenian IT Companies, 220 information technology-related companies now operate in the country, of which 26 belong to foreigners. Some 70 companies produce software, 12 companies provide Internet services, 30 companies sell and service computers, 35 companies collect data, 55 companies manufacture products related to information technology, and 30 companies are affiliated with educational institutions and training centers. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")
NEWSPAPER FORCED TO STOP PUBLICATION.
The independent weekly "Impuls" has been forced to close after official publishing houses refused to print it, Caucasus Press and Glasnost-North Caucasus reported on 11 August. The paper's owner, Hangusein Aliev, had refused to comply with a presidential decree requiring that as of 1 August all official documentation and newspapers appear in the Latin script. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 13 August)PROSECUTOR BRINGS LAWSUIT AGAINST TV CHANNEL.
The Prosecutor-General's Office plans to file a lawsuit against TV channel ANS, which accused Prosecutor-General Zakir Garalov of heavy drinking on its program "Kheberchi." Other media that disseminated similar information could also be tried. It should be noted that dismissed prosecutors accused the prosecutor-general of heavy drinking and a number of illegal actions at their press conference on 7 August. ("Zerkalo," 10 August)
TELEVISION CASTS DOUBT ON OPPOSITION'S ACCORD TO FIELD HANCHARYK AGAINST LUKASHENKA.
Belarusian Television on 14 August suggested that, despite the signing of an agreement between presidential hopefuls Uladzimir Hancharyk and Syamyon Domash, Belarus's democratic opposition has no single candidate to challenge President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the 9 September elections. According to the network, Domash signed the agreement to withdraw from the presidential race in favor of Hancharyk under pressure from U.S. Ambassador to Belarus Michael Kozak. The network said Domash is still pondering whether he should withdraw. A commentator for the main newscast "Panarama" added that "the formal signing of the agreement [on fielding Hancharyk] has saved Mr. Kozak from inevitable diplomatic defeat. Otherwise the opinion of the [U.S.] State Department about the role of the American diplomatic mission in Belarus would have been reduced to extremely negative assessments." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 15 August)EDITOR PUNISHED FOR USING U.S. OFFICE EQUIPMENT.
Serhei Nerovny, editor of the Krichev (Mohilov region)-based newspaper "Volny Horod" (Free City), was charged with misusing office equipment leased to the newspaper by the U.S. Embassy in Belarus. On 17 July, a judge fined Nerovny the equivalent of 100 minimum wages (some $535) and ordered the seizure of the equipment purchased with U.S. funds. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")AUTHORITIES USE ECONOMIC LEVERAGES.
Aleksandr Kanevsky, deputy chairperson of the Pinsk city executive committee, forbade real estate agencies, local tailors and other private entrepreneurs to place ads in the local non-state newspaper "Provintsialka." (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")PRESIDENT FEELS EXPANDED RFE/RL BROADCASTS ARE 'UNFRIENDLY STEP.'
Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on 8 August that the expansion of broadcasts by RFE/RL to Belarus is a direct interference in the internal affairs of the country, ITAR-TASS reported. "This is an extremely unfriendly step with regard to Belarus. They are putting massive pressure on the population ahead of the presidential elections," he said. RFE/RL's Belarusian Service expanded its broadcasting to Belarus on 6 August, one month ahead of the 9 September presidential elections. Meanwhile, Lukashenka expressed confidence that if he is re- elected, "diplomatic and political relations...[with] the West will normalize within several months." He added that "the West is beginning to understand that it should move from confrontation with Belarus to cooperation," and expressed confidence that this understanding will grow. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 9 August)OPPOSITION GROUP PROTESTS IN FRONT OF BELARUSIAN TELEVISION.
Some 40 people, mostly members of the United Civic Party, formed a "chain of concerned people" outside the Belarusian Television and Radio building in Minsk on 9 August to protest the way it reports on the disappearances of opposition figures, Belapan reported. "This is our response to the position taken by Belarusian Television," said party leader Anatol Lyabedzka. "They have spilled an enormous amount of mud on our colleagues Yury Zakharanka and Viktar Hanchar and their families," he added, referring to the opposition figures who disappeared in 1999. Lyabedzka cited allegations made by Belarusian Television that the United Civic Party helps people obtain asylum in the West for money, and that the figures who disappeared must have been smuggled to the West in this way. Lyabedzka said his party would file a lawsuit against reporters who have made such allegations. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 10 August)
SUSPECT ARRESTED IN JOURNALIST'S MURDER.
A man taken into custody by Georgian police late on 8 August on swindling charges is also being considered as a suspect in the 26 July murder of TV journalist Giorgi Sanaya, Caucasus Press reported on 10 August. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 10 August)
1,400 MEDIA OUTLETS REGISTERED.
The Ministry of Culture, Information, and Public Reconciliation reported that 1,399 media outlets are operative in Kazakhstan, of which some 70 percent are non-governmental. There are 1,258 print media (921 newspapers and 337 magazines), 125 broadcast media (TV channels and radio stations), and 16 news agencies in the country. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")NATIONAL BROADCASTER'S PLANS.
Minister of Culture, Information, and Public Reconciliation Mukhtar Kulmukhamed reported that a long-term plan for the development of the Kazakhstan-1 national broadcaster had been developed. The duration of radio broadcasting will soon increase to 21 hours a day, and TV programs, to 12.5 hours daily. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")NEW PAPER LAUNCHED.
The first issue of "Ust-Kamenogorsk Segodnya" (Ust-Kamenogorsk Today), a new city newspaper, appeared on newsstands. Its founders want the publication to be a quality newspaper covering issues of politics, economy, and ecology. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")POLISH TV IN KAZAKHSTAN.
NGO Poland-East reports that the Polish TV channel TV-Polonia will start broadcasting in Kazakhstan. A compilation of documents on the history of Poles in Kazakhstan will be also published. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")MANDATORY COVERAGE OF PARLIAMENT.
Journalists accredited with the parliament report that the press service of the Mazhilis (parliament's lower chamber) demands that journalists must attend meetings with deputies organized by the press service. They also say that the press service distributes questions prepared in advance to deputies and demands that journalists ask these questions at press conferences. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")
INDEPENDENT INTERNET-BASED NEWS SERVICE.
When the KosovaLive independent news agency was launched last October, it was not clear if local newspapers would run its reports on local news, which are designed to provide unbiased journalism about grassroots issues. Ten months later, KosovaLive is used in many local publications. For many radio stations, KosovaLive is the only source of news. Under Editor Kelmend Hapciu, the Internet-based news agency publishes 30 stories per day in Albanian and a dozen stories per day in English, all available free of charge at http://www.kosovalive.com. KosovaLive now wants to move from a free Internet site to a subscription-only service. Initial support has come from the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute, Press Now, the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the governments of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and the U.S. KosovaLive will remain a non-profit, unaffiliated non-governmental organization, but must begin to generate its own revenue, in order to ultimately become financially self-sufficient. (International Journalists' Network, 13 August)
LOCAL OFFICIAL DROPS ACCUSATIONS AGAINST JOURNALIST.
Ernis Nurdinov, the deputy chief editor of the "Jangy Muun" paper in Osh, and Osh Province administration official Kubanych Joldoshev had a reconciliation meeting in Osh on 9 August, where Joldoshev agreed to drop accusations against the journalist. Joldoshev accused Nurdinov of insulting him and demanded 500,000 soms (about $10,000) as compensation for moral damage. The trial was originally set for 4 July and was postponed four times after that. Judge JoldoshAliyev called on 20 July for Joldoshev and Nurdinov to find a compromise. ("RFE/RL Kyrgyz News," 9 August)MEDIA PREFERENCES OF BISHKEK RESIDENTS.
Bishkek residents prefer to watch Russian TV channels, according to the findings of research conducted by the consulting agency M-Vector. The poll covered residents aged 15 to 50. More than 205,000 viewers watch Russian TV daily. Piramida is the most popular local TV channel, with average daily viewership of 82,700. Evropa Plus is the most popular radio station (the daily audience is 104,000 listeners), followed by Russkoe Radio (83,000 listeners daily). Over three-quarters (78 percent) of Bishkek residents read at least one newspaper a week. "Vechernii Bishkek" (Evening Bishkek) is the most popular newspaper in the capital. Seventy-five percent of the adult population read this newspaper at different levels of regularity. Details of the poll are posted on the site of the M-Vector agency (http://www.m-vector.com). (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")RADIO SALAAM EXPANDING OPERATIONS.
Radio Salaam, a youth radio station launched in March 2001 by UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), the Foundation for Tolerance International, and the Internews public association in Batken is expanding its operations. The station not only broadcasts hourly news in Kyrgyz and Russian as well as Western, Kyrgyz, Russian, Uzbek, and Tajik music, but also features local programs on regional issues. The station will soon cooperate with the Voice of America on rebroadcasting some programs and will receive satellite equipment in return. Radio Salaam cooperates with TV stations in Sokh (Uzbekistan) and Isfara (Tajikistan) in a regional news exchange. More than 40 volunteers support the staff of Radio Salaam. For more information, contact UNICEF Communications Consultant Raiva Toigonbaeva (e-mail: email@example.com) or Internews Director's Assistant Elvira Sarieva (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). (Internews, 10 August)NEW PUBLICATION THREATENED.
The first issue of the joint edition of newspapers "Advokat" (Lawyer) and "Moya Stolitsa" (My Capital) was published in 24 July in Bishkek, with a press run of 24,000 copies. The editor of the edition, "Advokat" Editor in Chief Toktorbek Zhanaliyev, was reprimanded on 26 July by Deputy Minister of Justice Erkinbek Mamyrov. Zhanaliyev was accused of breaking the law by publishing the joint issue with "Moya Stolitsa" (whose registration was revoked on 20 June). Mamyrov also wrote that if such practice is continued, Zhanaliyev would be punished, and the joint issues of the two newspapers banned. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")PUBLISHERS AND EDITORS OF BANNED NEWSPAPERS FILE COURT APPEALS.
Aleksandr Kim, editor in chief of "Moya Stolitsa," said that on 2 July the newspaper had filed a suit against the Ministry of Justice, which revoked on 20 June the newspaper's registration. In addition, Kim filed a claim to the Bishkek Arbitration Court to have the decree of the Ministry of Justice of 20 June ruled illegal. However, the Ministry of Justice did not send a representative to the court session scheduled on 13 July. Instead, the Ministry sent an appeal saying that the claim was a civil case and should therefore be considered in a civil court. The court turned down this appeal and ruled that the decree of the extended board of the Ministry of Justice of 20 June should be suspended while the case is being considered by the court. Bakyt Zhamalidinov, founder of newspapers "Agym," "Techenie," and "Zholtiken," filed a suit in the Bishkek Arbitration Court against the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry registered his three newspapers on 15 and 16 May; however, the registration was revoked on 20 June, as also happened to other media outlets (in total sixteen registrations were revoked). The claimant said that both decrees of the extended board of the Ministry of Justice (On the Registration of Media dated 5 April 2001 and 20 June 2001) on which basis the registration of "Agym," "Techenie," and "Zholtiken" was revoked, were illegal. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")PORTAL AND ITS FUTURE DEVELOPMENT.
The Kyrgyzstan Development Gateway project, implemented in Kyrgyzstan with the support of the World Bank, conducted a seminar "The Kyrgyzstan Development Gateway Project and the Development of IT in Kyrgyzstan." At the meeting the project itself and its Internet portal (http://www.gateway.kg) were presented. The participants also discussed cooperation between the Kyrgyzstan Development Gateway and international organizations. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")ONLINE NEWSLETTER FOR LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT.
Urban Institute, a project aiming at providing support to local self-government, started publishing the online newsletter "Local Self-Government Initiatives." The periodical is posted in English and Russian at the Urban Institute's website (http://www.ui.kg). (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")
LAW ON BROADCASTING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES PROTESTED.
Bizness & Baltija media group owner Vladimir Gurov has submitted an appeal to the Constitutional Court against the Radio and Television Law provision that limits the use of languages other than Latvian to 25 percent of total daily broadcasting time, BNS reported on 10 August. He claims that the law contradicts the constitution's articles on human rights, freedom of speech, and ethnic minorities' right to preserve and develop their language and culture, as well as the European Convention of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms and the Covenant on Civic and Political Rights. Ojars Rubenis, the chairman of the National Radio and Television Council, asserted that Latvia's audio/visual laws were approved by the European Union and that the European Commission did not object to restrictions on the use of foreign languages. Constitutional Court acting Chairman Romans Apsitis said that the court panel will review Gurov's claim in the next few weeks and will decide whether a case should be opened. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 13 August)
RIGHT-WING LEADER CHARGES TV BIAS.
The leader of the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party has claimed media bias in the run-up to next month's elections, charging Polish public television with "waging a regular campaign" against the party, PAP reported on 8 August. Lech Kaczynski said that the PiS is being prevented from campaigning like other parties, and PAP reported that Kaczynski was referring to continuing coverage of alleged financial wrongdoing by his brother, Jaroslaw, and a former military intelligence officer. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 9 August)
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT RETAKES CONTROL OVER BROADCASTING'S TECHNICAL BASE...
As expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on 13 August a decree reestablishing federal government control over all of the Russia's broadcasting and relay stations for television and radio signals by consolidating them under the management of a single government corporation, ITAR-TASS and RIA-Novosti reported. According to the text of the decree as published on the website strana.ru, the newly created corporation, Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network (RTRS), will assume control over the federal signal distribution center in Moscow as well its regional subdivisions located in subjects of the Russian Federation. The decree also empowers the government to cancel any agreements or deals that would result in the "illegal estrangement of technical means and objects from federal ownership." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 14 August)...AS LESIN SAYS FATE OF NTV TO BE DECIDED IN SEPTEMBER...
The main lobbyist for the decree, Media Minister Mikhail Lesin, explained his support for it on 13 August by saying that at present "nobody but the state can [adequately] finance the electronic mass media," ITAR-TASS reported. Lesin added that the question of issuing shares in the new company will only arise one or two years after the broadcasting market has stabilized. According to Lesin, the RTRS will pay for transmitting the signals of ORT and RTR and state-run radios "Mayak" and "Rossiya." Whether the NTV channel will be included in this group will become clear at the beginning of September, when "there will be one more document issued concerning the electronic media." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 14 August)...AND EBRD IS ALLEGEDLY DISPLEASED WITH NEW MONOPOLY.
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 11 August speculated that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has reduced the initial sum of its planned loan for restoration of the Ostankino television tower from $40 million to $17 million so that it can pressure "the Russian government with its demands to separate the main center for radio and TV broadcasting from the All-Russian State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK). The paper claimed without reference to sourcing that the bank wants to "eliminate the state monopoly on TV and radio broadcasting." According to the daily, Igor Yakovenko, the general secretary of the Union of Journalists, believes that the EBRD should provide funding for the creation of a competitive technical foundation for Russian TV and broadcasting. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 14 August)NONGOVERNMENTAL BROADCASTERS PONDER PUTIN DECREE...
In interviews with "Kommersant-Daily" and "Vedomosti" published on 14 August, TV-6 Executive Director Pavel Korchagin expressed bewilderment over President Vladimir Putin's decree re-establishing state control over broadcasting's technical base. He told "Vedomosti" that he does not understand how non-governmental broadcasters will be affected by the decision. But he suggested to "Kommersant-Daily" that "It doesn't matter what this structure is called or in what form it will exist. As before, all the [broadcasting] towers will be located in the hands of the government." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 15 August)...AS THEIR FUTURE LOOKS UNCERTAIN.
Korchagin also said that TV-6 recently lost its right to transmit material from the Khankala military base in Chechnya. "Formally this was because we were late paying for the service," he explained, adding that "ORT, by the way, has a decent-sized debt for services for its connections." He concluded that he does "not see how there could be a system, in which [broadcasters] will be equal under all conditions." The same day, RFE/RL media analyst Anna Kachkaeva told "The Moscow Times" that the decree appears to mean "that all private broadcasters that have had contracts with the private transmission companies set up by regional state-owned transmission centers will have to renegotiate their contracts." She concluded, "at the moment, it looks a little like nationalization." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 15 August)MOSCOW TV STATION TO EXTEND BROADCASTS TO UKRAINE, BELARUS, AND MOLDOVA.
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov announced on 8 August that the regional television channel TV Tsentr, which is controlled by the Moscow city government, is planning to extend its broadcasting to the territory of Belarus, Moldova, and some areas of Ukraine, Interfax reported. Luzhkov stated that TV Tsentr head Oleg Poptsov has managed to make the station's broadcasts politically unbiased. TV Tsentr's potential audience will be about 74 million, many of whom, according to Luzhkov, will be interested in how Moscow solves its economic and social problems. In addition, TV Tsentr also intends to target the large portion of the city of Moscow's population that consists of people from these regions. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 9 August)SIBERIAN FEDERAL DISTRICT ESTABLISHES OWN TV COMPANY.
The Ministry of Justice registered the TV channel Sibir-TV established by the Siberian federal district (SFD). The new broadcaster will start operating this autumn. Sibir-TV's signal will cover most of the SFD. The TV channel was proposed by Leonid Drachevsky, presidential envoy to the SFD, and supported by VGTRK head Oleg Dobrodeev and Media Minister Lesin. A $10 million loan to create the new channel was provided by Oleg Deripaska, head of the Russkii Alyuminii (Russian Aluminum) group of companies. Yakov London, chairperson the Novosibirsk State Broadcasting Company, was appointed the general director of Sibir-TV. London explained that the SFD was selected as a testing ground for establishing district-wide television "because of optimum technical facilities of the state broadcasting companies, but also because strong independent broadcasters operate in Siberia." The list of regional TV companies selected for participation in the project is not finalized yet. A quarter of the new broadcaster's shares will be owned by the VGTRK, and the rest will be distributed among three or four TV companies based in different regions of the SFD. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")EURONEWS IN RUSSIA.
President Putin said at a press conference on 20 July that a Russian-language edition of the EuroNews television channel would begin operations in September. Oleg Dobrodeev, chairman of the VGTRK, signed a contract with EuroNews according to which VGTRK bought 1.8 percent of EuroNews' shares. The state RTR channel will pay annual fees for retransmitting the channel's programs. News blocks for the Russian-language audience will be produced by Russian journalists. It is expected that EuroNews will be broadcast by the Kultura TV channel from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and also after midnight. The Russian-language edition will also be included in EuroNews' global package. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")POLICE INTERFERENCE ALLEGED DURING LEAD-UP TO IRKUTSK ELECTION.
Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov has sent a telegram to Russian President Putin, Central Election Commission Chairman Aleksandr Veshnyakov, Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, and Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov complaining about a raid conducted by local police in Irkutsk on the campaign office of gubernatorial candidate Sergei Levchenko on 9 August, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 11 August. Levchenko, a Communist deputy in the State Duma, will compete against incumbent Irkutsk Oblast Governor Boris Govorin in gubernatorial elections on 19 August. According to Zyuganov, local police, acting on orders of Govorin, seized documents from Levchenko's office. According to Levchenko, the policemen seized 40,000 copies of the newspaper, "President-2," because they say it contained libelous materials about Governor Govorin. Govorin has frequently complained about media coverage during the campaign despite the fact that most observers believe the bulk of local media is controlled by the governor. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 13 August)OBSHCHAYA GAZETA: NEW DEPUTY EDITOR IN CHIEF.
Igor Yakovenko, general secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia, was appointed deputy editor in chief and editor of the political department of "Obshchaya gazeta." Yakovenko said that he would continue his work as head of the Union of Journalists and also general director of the National Circulation Audit Service. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA AWARDED.
Amnesty International awarded Anna Politkovskaya, a political analyst of "Novaya gazeta," a Global Award for Human Rights Journalism for her coverage of events in Chechnya. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")JOURNALISTS FOR CIVIL SOCIETY.
A presentation by the NGO Journalists for Civil Society was held on 11 July in Rostov-on-Don. A number of journalists working in southern Russia-based media appealed to their colleagues to be guided in their professional activities by the principles and norms of civil society. They said, "We do not want all journalists in Russia to be seen as corrupt and only serving the centers of power." Sergei Bondarenko, editor in chief of Radio Rostova, Grigorii Bochkaryov, editor in chief of the "Novyi Standart" magazine, and Radio Liberty correspondent Sergei Sleptsov introduced the new journalism organization. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")RUSSIANS READ LESS THAN THOUGHT.
In a broadcast on 10 August, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau continued its look at recent research on the Russian way of life conducted by the All Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM). The sociologists' research found that the popularly held notion that Russia is the country with the highest rate of reading among its population is false. VTsIOM concluded on the basis of a recent survey of 2,000 respondents that one in three Russians reads practically no books, and one in 10 reads no newspapers. Newspapers are most popular in Moscow, Siberia, and the Far East; they are the least popular in the North Caucasus region. Books are most popular in the Northwest and least popular in the Volga region. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 13 August)ALTAI PORTAL SET UP.
A virtual center for business information of the Altai Republic (http://www.altai-republic.com) was opened on 10 July in the capital Gorno-Altaisk. The center incorporates the Altai Republic's official Internet portal, which was created as part of a TACIS program financed by the EU. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")RUSSIAN MEDIA BULLETIN.
The European Institute for Media presents the July issue of its bulletin on media developments in the regions of the Russian Federation. The newsletter contains information on news, government, law, conferences, and new technology. This project is partly funded by the Commission of the European Union. To receive the newsletter in Russian write to Ljudmila von Berg at email@example.com (European Institute for the Media, 10 August)
CANCELLATION OF EDITORIAL COMPETITION PROTESTED.
The Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS) issued an official statement on the cancellation of the candidate search for the position of editor in chief of the news programs of Television Beograd, saying that it was clear that pressure had been exerted on Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) General Director Aleksandar Crkvenjakov not to send his proposals to the RTS board of directors for further consideration, although there had been candidates who met the needed criteria. ("ANEM Media Update," 4-10 August)CRKVENJAKOV ON NEWS EDITOR IN CHIEF.
The new competition for the position of editor in chief of the news programs of state television will be announced sometime this month. RTS General Director Crkvenjakov told the Belgrade daily "Blic" that the date would be announced once the formalities of setting up the competition were complete. ("ANEM Media Update," 4-10 August)RADIO BEOGRAD CHANNEL THREE NIXES OBRAD SAVIC.
The editing committee of Channel Three of Radio Beograd announced on 7 August that they would not accept Savic as their new editor in chief. "Savic has falsely represented his professional competency in the material that he submitted for the competition," editing committee members wrote, adding they had also refused to accept Savic's proposal for a new program concept. "The present program orientation of Channel Three had been directed toward superior highbrow theoretical and cultural values, and it had been made according to the paragon of European broadcasting and their standards," editing committee members said, who also threatened to go on strike if Savic were appointed editor in chief. ("ANEM Media Update," 4-10 August)FIRING PROTESTED.
The Independent Association of Journalists of Republika Srpska (IAJRS) demanded on 7 August that the Republika Srpska government reconsider its decision to dismiss Serbian news agency SRNA Director Dragan Davidovic, on grounds that the sacking was a political move. ("ANEM Media Update," 4-10 August)DAILY'S TRIAL POSTPONED.
Legal proceedings against the director and editor in chief of Podgorica-based daily "Dan," on a criminal complaint brought by Belgrade businessman Stanko Subotic, were postponed until 16 August. The trial was postponed after the lawyer for "Dan" objected that her clients had been prevented from appearing in court, the assistant to "Dan's" editor in chief said. ("ANEM Media Update," 4-10 August)
MINISTERS ADMIT LOBBYING FOR TV STATION IN CZECH REPUBLIC.
Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan and Culture Minister Milan Knazko admit that they have tried to lobby on behalf of the private Slovak radio channel Twist to obtain a license in the Czech Republic, CTK reported on 14 August. Both ministers said they have done so in the interest of promoting Slovak culture in the neighboring country. The bid was rejected by the Czech Radio and Television Broadcasting Council. The council's chairman, Martin Muchka, said two Czech ministers had also intervened on behalf of Twist and that this had been "counterproductive" for the Slovak radio station. CTK names the two Czech ministers as Foreign Minister Jan Kavan -- who denies having done so -- and Culture Minster Pavel Dostal. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 15 August)
BANNED PAPER DISTRIBUTED IN DUSHANBE.
The banned newspaper "Charogi Ruz" was secretly distributed in early July in Dushanbe. The newspaper's journalist team was expelled from Tajikistan in late 1992, and the newspaper is currently published in Moscow. The newspaper's Editor in Chief Dododzhon Atovulloyev was under arrest in Moscow from 5 to 10 July. In the opinion of some analysts, Atovulloyev's arrest is related to the newspaper's recent publications. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")WEB GATEWAY PREPARED.
The Association of Tajik Telecommunications Operators started preparations for the implementation of Gateway, a World Bank project. Within this project, a website will be created that will cover all aspects of the nation's life. The information and analytical content for the site-to-be will be provided by the Aziya-Plus news agency and updated on a daily basis. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")
MEDIA COVERAGE OF FOREIGN POLICY TO BE CONTROLLED BY FOREIGN MINISTRY.
President Saparmurat Niyazov decreed that the coverage of Turkmenistan's foreign policy in the national media, especially on TV, would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")PAYMENTS FOR ADVERTISING ABOLISHED.
National media (TV, radio, and newspaper) can no longer charge state-owned enterprises for advertising, according to a verbal order by President Niyazov. He explained that it made no sense to move state money from one pocket to another. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")
OFFICIAL SUBSCRIPTION STATISTICS.
The state corporation Pressa reported that newspapers "Silski Visti" (Rural News), "Poradnytsa" (Advisor), and the Social Democratic Party's "Nasha Gazeta Plus" (Our Newspaper Plus) are the most-subscribed newspapers in Ukraine in the second half of 2001. The circulation of these publications is 1,372,000; 526,000; and over 430,000 respectively. "Nasha Gazeta Plus" has the largest circulation among party publications. The circulation of "Kommunist" published by the Communist Party, which was in former years the most popular newspaper, is now 68,000 (Ukrainian and Russian editions). It is followed by "Tovarishch" (Comrade), published by the Socialist Party, whose circulation is about 45,000 (Ukrainian and Russian editions), "Ukraina i Svit Syogodnya" (Ukraine and World Today), published by the People Democratic Party, 24,000 (Ukrainian and Russian editions), and "Rukh" (Movement), published by the Rukh party, with circulation over 35,000. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")COOPERATION IN BROADCASTING.
The governments of Ukraine and Russia will sign an agreement by the end of 2001 on cooperation in the broadcasting sphere. The respective national broadcasting corporations agreed to create a working team to amend the operations of Russian broadcasters in Ukraine, and those of Ukrainian broadcasters in Russia in compliance with the respective national legislation. Boris Kholod, chairman of the National Broadcasting Corporation of Ukraine, said that as a result of such an agreement there will be "fully-fledged broadcasting for the Ukrainian-speaking audience in Russia and for the Russian-speaking audience in Ukraine." (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW ON BROADCASTING.
The Supreme Rada adopted on 11 July a law to amend more than a dozen laws regulating media activities. In particular, the duration of broadcasting licenses was increased from five to seven years. The new law introduced duties in the amount of 10 percent of the amount of a claim in a libel case, and made it illegal for state bodies to file libel suits against media companies. State bodies or local self-government bodies may (co)found no more than one media outlet. The law re-instates a provision requiring that 20 percent of collected broadcast license fees be used for the development of TV and radio networks. There are also some novelties in the procedures for issuing and revoking licenses (in particular, local self-government bodies may now support the application of a broadcaster for obtaining the license). Moreover, broadcasting is now permitted in national minority languages in territories where the corresponding minority constitutes no less than 10 percent of the population. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")NEW MEDIA ASSOCIATIONS.
The newly established Ukrainian Association of Periodical Publishers unites publishers from all over Ukraine, constituting a combined circulation of 1.2 million periodicals. A new Media Association was founded in Mariupol (Donetsk region) to promote the rights of journalists. Fedor Botsman, an employee of the press service of Mariupol Steel Plant, heads the association. Preparations for establishing the World Association of the Ukrainian Press have been completed. Pyotr Kulinets, deputy executive head of the Third World Forum of Ukrainians, said that on 21 August a founding conference for the association would be convened, to unite more than 100 Ukrainian and about 50 foreign media outlets. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")INTERNET DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.
The program of Internet development in Ukraine was endorsed by the relevant government bodies and within a month it will be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers. The program was developed in accordance with the decree by President Leonid Kuchma. Once the program is adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers, it will be incorporated into the National Program of Information Processing. President Kuchma also ordered the government to create websites for national and local executive power bodies, and also for major research and educational institutions. (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")JULY MEDIA BULLETIN ISSUED.
The European Institute for Media released its July issue of its online bulletin on media developments in Ukraine in the "Ukrainian Media Bulletin." The bulletin contains information on media news, media and government, media law, media conferences, and new media technology. To receive the bulletin in Ukrainian contact Svetlana Selyutina at firstname.lastname@example.org (European Institute for the Media, 10 August)
Ahlo Khodzhayev, editor in chief of "Tashkentskaya Pravda," was dismissed. In the newspaper's editorial office, he organized an exhibition of articles that had been banned by censorship agencies. The Russian-language "Tashkentskaya Pravda" was merged with "Toshkent Khakikati," published in Uzbek, and Khodzhayev was dismissed "due to re-organization and workforce reduction." (European Institute for the Media, July "CIS Media Newsletter")
U.S. SLAMS BALKAN DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN.
On 10 August the U.S. Office Prishtina said in a statement: "We are very concerned that the media in Macedonia, Kosovo, and elsewhere in Europe are conveying false reports on U.S. support for the so-called National Liberation Army in Macedonia. Spreading misinformation makes it harder to restore a climate in which Macedonia's parties can implement the agreement initialed on 8 August. In particular, we are concerned about patently false information reported in the "Sunday Times" and "Der Spiegel" that has been repeated in local media without verification or substantiation. Irresponsible and inflammatory reports undermine the genuine efforts of the international community to support a peaceful solution.... There can be no military solution. All parties need to respect the agreement reached at Ohrid." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 13 August)