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B92 Serbia FM

Updated Wednesday 1st March 2006

A look at how one of Serbia's radio stations survived by using the Internet

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In Serbia, the Internet has become a vital tool for the survival of free news reporting. During the oppressive regime of Slobodan Milosevic, a brave group of journalists and DJs were forced to use the Internet to avoid attempts to censor them.

B92's mix of cutting edge music and uncensored reporting was not popular with the Milosevic regime. After its reporting of the manipulation of local election results in 1996, the authorities pulled the plug. Undeterred, B92 started to broadcast live over the Net. This rebel station quickly gained world popularity for its defiance and within three days it was back on the air.

B92 realised that it needed a voice beyond Belgrade if they were to change opinion about Milosevic. So they sent their broadcasts via the Internet to London, which were retransmitted via satellite to a network of local radio stations across Serbia. Within six months B92 was broadcasting to 30 radio stations.

In 1999, B92 was the first media agency to report the Nato bombing of Serbia to the Serbian people. This time the authorities hit back and arrested B92's Editor-in-Chief Veran Matic and took over the station. The radio station B92 became a puppet of the Milosevic regime. Once again the journalists from the original B92 retaliated on the Internet. They renamed themselves 'Free B92' and for five months operated online. To avoid further disruption, they stored their website in computers in Holland, until on 5th October 2000 Milosevic was finally ousted.

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B92 are now part of a network of radio stations throughout the Balkan region, who use a shared website to post, download and retransmit programmes on human rights and social issues. We spoke to Sasa Mirkovic, Director of B92, about how the Internet aided transmission during the Milosevic regime.

Read the interview





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