DATE=4/6/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=YUGOSLAVIA / MEDIA (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-261017 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=LONDON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The World Association of Newspapers has sent a letter to Yugoslav authorities to protest restrictions on independent media in Serbia, especially tight controls on the import of desperately-needed printing supplies for newspapers and magazines. V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London. TEXT: The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers is urging the Belgrade government to end restrictions on the import of newsprint. The organization's policy adviser, Anne Marie Stott, says the cost of paper for the publications has skyrocketed, making it more difficult for non-state media to publish. /// STOTT ACT ONE /// [For] newsprint, already the price has rocketed by 160 percent in the last five months. Newsprint cannot currently be imported, because those who import the paper need permission from the Yugoslav Foreign Trade Ministry, which is refusing the import. /// END ACT /// Miss Stott says the independent media need about 12- hundred tons of newsprint every three months. The government crackdown was most apparent before and during the three-month NATO campaign to oust Yugoslav troops from the Serb province of Kosovo. Most private newspapers were closed, and television stations were heavily censored. Miss Stott says publishers suffer a constant barrage of financial sanctions, making it more difficult to get their newspapers and magazines onto newsstands. /// STOTT ACT TWO /// They've been forced to reduce their prices by 25 percent ... [and] charges for the printing presses have rocketed up by 150 percent. Not only that, but the newspapers are sued almost daily. /// END ACT /// The World Association of Newspapers and the International Federation of Journalists have set up an emergency fund to help independent publishers deal with the newsprint crisis. Miss Stott says other funds have been launched to support legal and humanitarian aid and solidarity campaigns for independent journalists in Serbia. /// OPT STOTT ACT THREE /// What we're trying to do is to link up with some of our associations within Serbia, so that local campaigns will have this international dimension and some of the international campaigns will have this local dimension. /// END ACT /// /// END OPT /// The World Association of Newspapers represents more than 17-thousand newspapers around the world. (Signed) NEB/LMK/JWH/WTW 06-Apr-2000 12:43 PM EDT (06-Apr-2000 1643 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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