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Djindic’s death hurts media bill

World Brief

The assassination Wednesday of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic could end media reforms that his coalition government had been working on for months.

Djindjic’s slaying by a sniper outside the Serbian Parliament buildings occurred just as a proposed Information Act had been drafted for approval by the industry and Parliament.

Although the proposed law addressed access to information, it is considered the necessary precursor for passage of a Telecommunications Bill, which would privatize up to four state-controlled TV frequencies for private commercial use and fully implement the Broadcasting Act passed in 2002.

The chaos in the wake of Djindjic’s death could place media reform on the back burner indefinitely.

Acting President Natasa Micic appointed Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic, a pro-business reformer who supported Djindjic’s media policies, to assume the PM’s duties. When broadcast reform gets back on track will depend on how soon the government can find Djindjic’s killers.

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