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Date: 1998-12-22

Zensur in YU: Filter gegen Demokratie

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Erst wurden die dem Belgrader Regime nicht genehmen
Radiostationen abgedreht, jetzt wird Filtersoftware
eingesetzt, um missliebige Websites wie Opennet zu
blockieren. Interessant wär es zu wissen, ob zum Zweck der
politischen Zensur "net nanny" oder der "cybersitter" dient.

post/scrypt: Unter den 1463 teils hochgradig IT/qualifizierten
Subscriber/inne/n des quintessenziellen Depeschendiensts
könnten auch solche mit einem spontanen Herz für Mirrors

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(New York, December 21, 1998) Human Rights Watch today
condemned a new clampdown on the Internet in Serbia, part
of a concerted effort by President Slobodan Milosevic to stifle
free expression and academic freedom. The university
administration's order prevents students, professors, and
researchers throughout Serbia from accessing a website
fromOpenNet, the Internet branch of Belgrade's independent
Radio B92.

On December 10, the new governmentappointed dean of the
School of Electrical Engineering, Vlada Teodosic, ordered
"filters" to prevent users of the Yugoslav academic Internet
network from accessing the OpenNet website, a major
source of independent news and information. The measure
also affects the independent media and nongovernmental
organizations in the country, many of which access OpenNet
through the university.

"OpenNet has played a central role in breaking the
government's information blockade," said Human Rights
Watch academic freedom specialist Joseph Saunders.
"President Milosevic and his allies are spearheading a direct
assault on the free flow of information."

The act of censorship comes as the latest step in an ongoing
attack on the universities by Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic. In May 1998, a new university law stripped
Serbian universities of their autonomy and required all
professors to sign new contracts within sixty days regardless
of the terms of existing contracts and guarantees of tenure.
Professors who refused to sign the new contracts, viewed by
many as loyalty oaths to the government, have been
harassed, suspended, and fired.

Teodosic, who has authority over the computing center at the
University of Belgrade, has been a central figure in academic
repression. In October, he suspended twelve engineering
professors who refused to sign the new "contracts," including
professors such as Branko Popovic, with nearly 150
publications to his name and awards from several
international scientific societies. Teodosic hired private
security guards to forcibly remove any of the twelve
professors who attempted to return to their classrooms.

The attack on the Internet also comes amidst increased
government harassment of the independent media in Serbia.
A new Law on Information, passed on October 20,
established a system of prior censorship and imposes
prohibitively high fines on journalists, editors, and publishers;
three newspapers have been shut down thus far.

The immediate motive for blocking OpenNet access appears
to have been a link on the website to a political cartoon that
showed Teodosic in a Nazi uniform giving a Nazi salute. The
cartoon also portrayed another newlyappointed administrator,
Milos Laban, as a monkey. The OpenNet site also hosts
detailed, regularly updated information on the conflict
between academics and the government, and includes letters
of support for Serbian academic freedom from academics and
universities around the world
( For more
information, visit the OpenNet website at
For further information contact:

Joe Saunders (212) 2161207 Fred Abrahams (212) 2161270

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edited by Harkank
published on: 1998-12-22
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