YU closes down independent radio station

BELGRADE, Mar 9, 2000 -- (Reuters) Yugoslav government inspectors closed down and sealed off the Boom 93 provincial independent radio station on Wednesday, its owner and editor said.

It was the third major action against Serbia's beleaguered non-government media in the past week.

"Federal inspectors came to our station today, telling us we must stop our programme," Milorad Tomic told Reuters by telephone from the eastern Serbian town of Pozarevac, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's home town.

"They brought a decision from the ministry refusing our application for a permanent frequency because as they said we failed to satisfy the required demands."

He said that federal telecommunications inspectors had initially said the station had not paid its federal taxes, and only pulled out the licence refusal after workers said the station had not received a tax demand.

"The inspectors then disconnected our link and took that piece of equipment with them," he said.

"All these events are part of a previously drafted scenario to silence the free media in Serbia."

Last Thursday, the government effectively nationalised the mass-circulation daily Vecernje Novosti by merging it into the government-owned newspaper Borba.

On Sunday night, attackers in police uniforms raided the transmitter of Serbia's biggest opposition television station, Studio B, and beat up a guard and a technician, tied them up and systematically destroyed the equipment.

Police denied having anything to do with the attack.

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