(Prague, Czech Republic -- March 14, 2006) RFE/RL's South Slavic & Albanian Languages Service (SSALS), broadcasting to the Balkans in five languages, was the region's voice on the March 11 death and legacy of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. RFE/RL broadcasts are carrying reaction and comment from across the region, including those of Milosevic supporters in Serbia and critics in Croatia and Bosnia.
All components of RFE/RL's broadcasting to the Balkans are involved in the effort to bring listeners timely, balanced and objective reporting on the event, countering the often emotional, politicized, rumor-filled and speculative coverage of domestic media. RFE/RL's seven bureaus in Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Podgorica, Prishtina and Skopje have been fully engaged since word of Milosevic's death surfaced on March 11, working with broadcasters in Prague on getting interviews with local officials, legal and medical experts and political analysts. Monitoring of local media shows that in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo reporting is mostly critical of Milosevic, while the reverse is true in Serbia. RFE/RL is covering all viewpoints -- over the weekend, RFE/RL aired interviews with more than 60 people from all walks of life, all commenting on the cause of Milosevic's death and its international and domestic impact.
RFE/RL's South Slavic coverage today was focused on Russia's skeptical reaction to proceedings at the International Tribunal in The Hague and its plans to conduct its own investigation of the cause of Milosevic's death. RFE/RL's Russian Service is working closely with SSALS to add new, exclusive information. Today's Russian Service "Time of Liberty" program featured interviews with Balkan experts Sergei Romanenko and Artyom Ulunian of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, explaining reasons for official Russian distrust of The Hague and the wave of pro-Milosevic, anti-western sentiment in Russia.
A team based at RFE/RL's Broadcast Operations Center in Prague prepares a daily, two hour regional programming block that is broadcast in four languages and carried on FM by 40 radio partners in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. In addition, separate daily RFE/RL programming in each language, to each of these countries and regions is carried by a total of more than 100 local affiliates.
RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) broadcasts nearly 12 hours of programming a day to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia, produced in Prague and in the service's bureaus in Belgrade, Banja Luka, Podgorica, Prishtina, Sarajevo and Skopje and transmitted to listeners via satellite and shortwave signals and AM and FM frequencies provided by local affiliate stations. SSALS programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's websites www.slobodnaevropa.org
and at www.rferl.org
; English-language news about events in Bosnia-Herzegovina
and Serbia and Montenegro
can also be found on the RFE/RL website.