The only radio station in Serbia and its northern province in Vojvodina that had a programme in the Croatian language, Radio Subotica, was left on Thursday without any employees and is likely to close down in a few days.
Due to the failed privatisation of this oldest and most popular radio station in northern Vojvodina, the last seven employees, who prepared daily programmes in the Serbian, Hungarian and Croatian languages, were forced to accept the termination of their work contracts.
The Croatian language service, which was launched 17 years ago and which aired three hours of programmes daily, will continue airing most probably until Christmas, said the now fired editor Ivana Petrekanic Sic.
"This is the most severe blow to Croatian language news programmes in Vojvodina and Serbia in the last 15 years. We have lost the richest and strongest electronic media outlet in terms of information and personnel. 90% of daily production of news programmes for the Croat community will cease to exist," Democratic Alliance of the Vojvodina Croats (DSHV) leader Tomislav Zigmanov said, adding that this would drastically reduce the achieved level of rights of the Croat community in Serbia.
"It is intolerable that state laws and policies abolish the right of the Croat community to information, and this is happening in Subotica - the political, educational and cultural centre of the Croats in Serbia," Zigmanov said, adding that Croat institutions would notify all relevant factors in the country, Croatia and elsewhere abroad of the problem.
Radio Subotica was established in 1968 and it has aired Croatian-language programmes since 1998.