SERBIA, SERBIA, 21/11/2001, 14:35
To: Zoran Djindjic
Republic of Serbia
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Fax: + 381 11 3617 - 609
Prime Minister, FR Yugoslavia
Federal Secretary of Information, FR Yugoslavia
Minister of Science and Technology, Serbia, FRY
Vice-Minister of Science and Technology, Serbia, FRY
The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South Eastern Europe, and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned about the case of the independent economic magazine, Ekonomist magazin.
According to the information before SEEMO, on 17 January 2000, Ekonomist was declared a "publication of special interest for science" and therefore exempt from general circulation tax, in accordance with Serbian law. However, a decision signed on 12 September 2001 by the Vice Minister for Science and Technology, Professor Dr. Ljubisa Papic, has led to Ekonomist magazin losing this status. As a result, the magazine now has to pay the general circulation tax.
In SEEMO's opinion, this change in the status of Ekonomist magazin is unusual, because the concept of the magazine has not changed since January 2000. In addition, we find it strange that an independent publication, which has always been critical of economic developments and policy in Serbia, enjoyed a better position during the Milosevic regime than it does today.
SEEMO urges Your Excellency to find a legal way to help professional and independent media that play an important role in scientific development in Serbia. For this specific group of media, every new financial load is an extra burden. We are sure that you also understand that the existence of the scientific media is very important for the economic development and democratisation of Serbia.