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VOA’s Serbian-Language TV Show Marks Decade On Air

Program began in response to Serbian shut down of independent media

Washington, D.C., December 11, 2006 – Today's edition of the Voice of America's (VOA) Serbian-language television program, Open Studio, marks the show's tenth year on the air. Open Studio is a daily half-hour newscast featuring information on the United States, Serbia, the Balkans, and the world.

"Ten years ago VOA helped a war-torn society by broadcasting unbiased news at a pivotal time," said VOA Serbian Service Chief Maja Drucker. "The challenges have changed, but VOA remains an essential source of reliable news and information. Our audience tunes in to get the facts straight."

Open Studio, originally entitled America Calling Serbia, was first broadcast in 1996 in the wake of massive demonstrations in Serbia against election tampering under the Milosevic regime. In an effort to censor coverage of the demonstrations, the Milosevic government shut down independent media in Serbia, including the student-run radio station B92. VOA responded by expanding its broadcasts and by joining forces with B92, whose broadcasts continued through VOA’s airwaves.

When Milosevic relented and permitted B92 to resume broadcasting, the station's chief editor Veran Matic credited VOA's expanded broadcasts, along with international pressure, with getting his station back on the air. B92 came to symbolize civil disobedience and freedom to Serbians and has since become one of the country's most respected radio and television stations.

Today, VOA's Open Studio is rebroadcast by 53 television stations in the region: 45 in Serbia and Montenegro, six in Bosnia Herzegovina, one in Kosovo, and one in Macedonia. VOA is the leading international broadcaster in Serbia and Montenegro, with a weekly, unduplicated radio and television audience of over 16%.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or by e-mail at