Journalists Advisory: ex-Yugoslavia cpj@cdp.UUCP 07-Aug-95 TABLE OF CONTENTS From the Director William A. Orme, Jr. Why Publish a Survival Guide? Anne Nelson A Lethal Story Yalman Onaran BEFORE YOU GO Getting Started How to File Insurance First Aid Body Armor Get the Right Stuff ONCE YOU GET THERE First Stops to Make UN Press Credentials Map Showing Areas of Military Control Getting to Sarajevo Moving Around the Region Getting the Story Journalists Killed in the Balkan War What is CPJ? The CPJ Board of Directors The CPJ Staff IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS September 1994 Committee to Protect Journalists 330 Seventh Avenue, 12th Floor New York, New York 10001 Phone: 212 465-1004 Fax: 212 465-9568 e-mail: Telex: 910 250-4794 FROM THE DIRECTOR When the first edition of this guidebook was published two years ago, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia had already claimed the lives of more than 20 working journalists. The toll since then has more than doubled. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented the deaths of 44 journalists killed in the line of duty in the Balkans since 1991. We have received unconfirmed but credible reports of another 12 deaths in that three- year period. Bosnia has become the single most dangerous assignment for journalists since Vietnam. What is especially disturbing is that many of those killed Q both local and foreign journalists Q appear to have been deliberately targeted. Reporters and photographers are routinely harassed by regional militia Q Muslim, Croat, and Serb Q with the Bosnian Serbs conducting the most systematic campaign against the media. Snipers single out journalists for attack, while guards at illegal militia checkpoints confiscate reporters' equipment, money, credentials, and vehicles. Most of these incidents would have been avoided had leaders of belligerent factions ordered their forces to respect the rights of journalists as civilian noncombatants, as guaranteed under the terms of the Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, the new norm in war coverage is to see insurgent forces, defiant or ignorant of international law, angrily confront a multilateral peacekeeping force. The international press corps, viewed with suspicion by all sides, is caught dangerously in the middle. The practical advice in this guidebook Q from travel pointers to insurance coverage to body armor Q is already proving relevant to news assignments in other zones of conflict from Central Africa to Central Asia. The multilateral military commanders assigned to conflicts such as the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina have an extraordinarily difficult job and have often extended great help to the international news media under trying and dangerous circumstances. The risks to reporters would be reduced if all United Nations agencies, especially the United Nations Protection Forces, had a clear mandate from the Secretary General or the Security Council to facilitate safe press access to combat zones and to protected areas such as Sarajevo. This specifically would include permission for working reporters, photographers and television crews to travel on UNPROFOR aircraft on a space- available basis. When multilateral peacekeeping forces do not actively assist the international press in its efforts to cover a conflict, they inadvertently support the efforts of armed belligerents to suppress such coverage Q and they deprive citizens and policymakers in UN member states of essential information. UN authorities should also grant full accreditation to local journalists who work for Balkan media outlets. To do otherwise jeopardizes the security of reporters who are on the front lines of this story and who have suffered the greatest losses since the fighting began. All international news organizations rely on courageous local journalists as invaluable sources of information and practical reporting assistance. Ultimately, however, responsibility for the security of journalists in wartime lies with the journalists themselves, and the news organizations that employ them. It is our hope that this guidebook will help them meet that responsibility. William A. Orme, Jr Executive Director Committee to Protect Journalists August 1994 WHY PUBLISH A SURVIVAL GUIDE? This safety advisory was first published in the fall of 1992, following the tragic deaths of ABC Producer David Kaplan and more than a score of other journalists covering the Balkan conflict. The Committee to Protect Journalists wished to use its unique vantage point as a monitor of international press conditions to help prevent further casualties. We interviewed dozens of U.S., European and local journalists who had covered the conflict, and talked with assignment desks responsible for orchestrating war coverage. They have generously provided detailed information gleaned from their field experience, which we have combined with our in-house expertise to create this guide. Since we first went to press with this material nearly two years ago, we have received an unprecedented response, with hundreds of requests for copies coming into the office from all over the world. The experience of producing this advisory has changed the way we think about our work in relation to the Western press. We were shocked to learn, for example, that U.S. journalists do not have ready access to first-aid manuals oriented towards combat conditions. See the First Aid section of this manual for ideas on where to get them. We were surprised to learn how little dialogue existed on a formal basis about safety measures, both among journalists and between journalists and their news organizations. We hope to lay the groundwork for a documentation center journalists can turn to for more information about dangerous assignments. If we can help to create a culture of safety among the international press corps, the effort will be worth it. In requesting copies of this advisory, many of you have asked what exactly the Committee to Protect Journalists is, and what you can do to help. The Committee to Protect Journalists is a non- profit, non-partisan organization, based in New York with a full-time staff of 12, that researches and protests abuses of press freedom around the world. We produce an array of publications, and many other groups use our research for their own press freedom activities. We frequently collaborate with a dozen other organizations through the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a global e-mail network, and circulate urgent actions through the IFEX computer clearinghouse. There is a great deal that journalists can do to advance our work: % Keep in touch. Journalists calling in from the field and those just returning are our best sources of information about abuses against the press. We are receptive to every single report of harassment, censorship and intimidation. The more systematic we can be in our research, the more effective we can be in our protests. You can serve as a lifeline between our emergency services and the local journalists you've met on the ground (who may lack your institutional support). Journalists can also call us to pass along tips for colleagues embarking on an assignment they've just completed. % Become a member. It's not costly Q as little as $35 a year Q and in the end, memberships allow us to be an organization of journalists, for journalists. It will help us stay in touch via our mailing list, and more importantly, your support will help ensure that we'll be there when you or a friend really needs us. % Tell your news organization to back us, morally and financially. We work on hundreds of cases every year, and have methods and contacts that may not occur to your editors or producers when you or your colleagues suddenly get into trouble. We depend on the news media for the bulk of our financial support, and it is crucial to our efforts to provide you with a speedy, reliable, and thorough response. Regarding this advisory: Some of its material may appear obvious to seasoned journalists, but it covers issues they might want to review. The Balkan war is too virulent to excuse bravado. We do not endorse products and companies listed here, such as the providers of body armor, insurance, and first-aid material. Each has been recommended by sources we consider as reliable. Better or cheaper goods and services may exist and we'd like to hear about them. It is not our intention to encourage or discourage anyone from covering the breakup of Yugoslavia. It is a crucial international story, and an international press corps must be there to report it. We only hope this information will help journalists improve their odds for a safe return. We would like to give special recognition to Roy Gutman of Newsday, who read an entire draft of this advisory and provided many useful suggestions, and journalists at BBC television and Cable News Network for sharing their extensive knowledge with us. Special thanks also to Milos Vasic of VREME magazine in Belgrade; Pierre Baran of CNN; Simo Vaatainen and Yarmila Aragon of the UNPROFOR press office in Zagreb; Carol Williams of the Los Angeles Times; the International Committee of the Red Cross office in Zagreb, and the many individuals at CBS, ITN, Newsday, the American Society of Magazine Photographers, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Reuters and other news organizations who provided information. Eileen Kotak of Newsday also was of great help; she designed this new edition. If you have anything to add or correct, please contact CPJ; we may produce additional updated editions. Copies of this advisory are available from our New York offices. Anne Nelson Anne Nelson served as Executive Director of CPJ in 1988-89 and from 1991 to 1993. This guidebook was commissioned and edited under her supervision. The bulk of it was researched and written by former Publications Director Greg Victor, who returned as a consultant to update this new edition. A LETHAL STORY The violent breakup of Yugoslavia is among the most deadly stories for journalists in decades. At least 44 reporters, photographers and members of news crews have been killed since war broke out in 1991. Sixty-three journalists were killed or never found in Vietnam, and 98 died during Argentina's "dirty war" in the 1970s and 1980s, but these conflicts stretched over longer periods of time. Veteran correspondents who have covered the wars, revolutions and riots of the last quarter- century say they have never experienced anything as perilous as the conflict in Croatia and Bosnia- Herzegovina. Among the fatalities have been journalists from Spain, Turkey, Italy, Belgium, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, France, the former Soviet Union, Australia, and the local states of Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia. They include widely experienced international war correspondents, locals who knew the region intimately, and all too many freelancers, some of whom were covering a war for the first time. Most journalists killed in the Balkans got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Francis Tomasic and Brian Brinton, two American freelancers, were killed instantly when their car hit a land mine near Mostar. Tasar Omer, a reporter from Turkey, was hit by a sniper in Sarajevo while attending the funeral of seven young people who had died in shelling the day before. In some cases, however, journalists were specifically targeted because they were journalists. This has been rare in recent wars and must be taken into account by anyone who plans to cover this conflict. Zdenko Purgar, a reporter for the Croatian weekly Borovo, was knifed to death by an assassin who disliked his coverage. Tihomir Tunukovic, a cameraman for BBC, died in an armored car clearly marked "Press" when it was hit with a mortar shell near Travnik. The sniper's bullet that killed ABC Producer David Kaplan in Sarajevo traveled precisely between the "T" and "V" taped on the outside of his van. Scores of other journalists in the former Yugoslavia have been wounded, held captive, robbed, or had their lives threatened. CNN's Margaret Moth lost part of her face to a sniper's bullet in Sarajevo. An Italian TV crew was held and threatened at knifepoint for two days by Bosnian Serb militia who were retaliating against their chief correspondent because of his story about a Muslim woman who became pregnant after she was raped. Journalists have been robbed at gunpoint by militia and military police, strip- searched, interrogated at length, and had their equipment and vehicles stolen. Correspondents agree on why the Balkan conflict is so dicey: continually shifting front lines, atrocities that have inflamed passions, and a wide variety of violent participants Q including local militias and armed civilians. In most wars, a reporter can wake up in the morning and know where the front lines are located. In the former Yugoslavia, a place that's safe one day can be deadly the next. So be careful out there. Think. Is that next risk going to be worth the story you might get? Often the answer will be yes. Sometimes it will be no. Terry Anderson, the former Middle East bureau chief for the Associated Press who was held hostage in Lebanon for seven years, advises: Always, constantly, constantly, every minute, weigh the benefits against the risks. And as soon as you come to the point where you feel uncomfortable with that equation, get out, go, leave it. It's not worth it. There is no story worth getting killed for. What's the point? Aside from the impact on your personal life, you're not going to file the story, right? Yalman Onaran Research Associate GETTING STARTED % Consult journalists, aid workers, government officials or other people who have recently returned from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia- Herzegovina. In the back of this handbook, you will find phone and fax numbers in the region for a wide variety of organizations. Call or fax ahead for the latest in policies and conditions. Take particular note of the chapter entitled "UN Press Credentials" because you might want to arrange for a UN press card in advance. % The Committee to Protect Journalists can help put you in touch with reporters and photographers, as well as international aid workers, UN offices, or governments. We are constantly updating our collection of print and video materials relating to safety training in the former Yugoslavia and other war zones. We will make this material as widely available as possible. Committee to Protect Journalists 330 Seventh Avenue New York, New York 10001 Phone: 212 465-1004 Fax: 212 465-9568 e-mail: Telex: 910 250-4794 % Set ground rules with your editors or producers. Get them to agree that you will be able to make tough calls at the scene. Many editors say that they're dismayed when reporters or photographers take unreasonable risks, and that much of the pressure to do so is created by journalists in the field because of intense competition and adrenaline. To editors at home: Don't push. Just because someone else got a story or picture doesn't mean your reporter or photographer can get it right away without undue risk. % Consider making arrangements for an armored vehicle if you plan to travel overland in combat areas. See the section on "Getting to Sarajevo" for information on renting armored vehicles in Croatia. If you or your news organization might want to buy or lease an armored vehicle elsewhere, among the cheapest is an armored Land Rover. A new Land Rover pickup truck with cab and undercarriage protection costs about $37,500. Many of these models have been purchased by the BBC, the New York Times and other media organizations for use in Bosnia. They can be leased for $1,800 per week, and larger, more expensive vehicles also are available. The supplier is SMC Engineering, which also can provide body armor for media clients. SMC Engineering (Bristol) Ltd. 171-178 Coronation Road Southville, Bristol BS3 1RF England Phone: 44 27 253-8888, -9999 Fax: 44 27 253-7148 Another supplier of armored vehicles in Europe is: Schell Sicherheits-Technik Bergerwiesenstr. 9 D-53340 Meckenheim Germany Phone: 49 22 251-7011 Fax: 49 22 251-7017 HOW TO FILE If you plan to file stories from the field, figure out how you and your news organization are going to do it. Some arrangements need to be made in advance. A satellite telephone or telex is the most mobile and versatile way to file from anywhere in the world, but they are expensive. Arrangements can be made to file from Sarajevo and other cities with Reuters, Associated Press or Agence France Presse. Options include: Satellite telephones Suitcase-sized satellite telephones cost $15,000 to $65,000 or more, depending on their weight and capabilities. The newest models weigh only 20 to 30 pounds and can handle voice, fax, and modem communications. The pricier high-speed models can send still pictures in digital form. Transmission costs range from $4 to $10 per minute. Some have built-in re-chargable batteries; others require separately purchased battery packs. You might be asked to spend another $300 or so for "commissioning" by your retailer. This involves setting up and calibrating your equipment to make sure it functions properly and meets national and international specifications. In the United States allow a week to get FCC approval and a Comsat phone number. If you plan to ship computers or telecommunications devices overseas, be sure to get a "carnet" Q a type of visa for equipment Q so that you don't have to pay duty on it. Also be sure to check national regulations on the use of telecommunications equipment; you might have to make special arrangements with local authorities. Comsat or retailers should be able to help you with these arrangements. Comsat is the U.S. representative for the International Maritime Satellite system. National telecommunications agencies handle arrangements in other countries. Comsat sells some units and can provide a list of manufacturers and distributors. In the U.S., these include: Comsat Corp. Short Hills, NJ Phone: 201 564-5200 Fax: 201 564-5202 Mobile Telesystems, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Phone: 301 590-8526 Fax: 301 590-8558 Mackay Communications Edison, NJ Phone: 908 225-0909 Fax: 908 225-2848 Raytheon Maritime Company Hudson, NH Phone: 603 881-5200 Fax: 603 881-4756 Satellite telex Satellite telex units are a lower-cost alternative especially suited to print correspondents. They cost $4,000 to $10,000, are easily cabled to laptop PCs, weigh about 13 pounds, and are about the size of a shoebox with a fold-out antenna. They usually come with e-mail-type software and work much like e-mail. Messages can be sent by modem and satellite to other computers or to telex and fax machines. They can receive messages, as well. Transmission costs are lower than for satellite phones Q about a penny per character Q because stories are sent as spurts of data when room is available on transmission frequencies. A 500-word story would cost about $35 to send. They also must be FCC-approved in the U.S., but can be set up quickly and self-commissioned. Comsat and the same manufacturers listed above can be contacted. Lease satellite phones or telexes Comsat has set up a leasing program for satellite phones and telexes because of high demand from news organizations and other businesses for fast, temporary satellite communication services. Telex terminals can be leased for $1,000 a month, and phone terminals range up to $5,200 a month, depending on size, weight and capabilities. Rental and online discounts are available in many cases, as are options to buy. In most cases, Comsat can ship equipment anywhere in the world within 24 hours. Comsat also is just beginning to offer used equipment for sale. Comsat Corp. Short Hills, NJ Phone: 201 564-5200 Fax: 201 564-5202 File with Wire Services You can arrange in advance to use wire-service satellite facilities in Sarajevo or other war zones with the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Presse. They will bill your news organization directly at rates of about $40 per minute. In Sarajevo, AFP and Reuters are based at the Holiday Inn; AP has its own location near Kosovo Hospital. AP provides service only for correspondents working for member news media. Your news organization should contact its local AP bureau on your behalf to make arrangements. The price is about $150 for the first three minutes. Reuters asks that requests for use of satellite equipment be faxed to: Alex Frere, managing editor for UK-Ireland, at 44 71 510-5401. Each request should include the name of the news organization and a contact person there, the name of the correspondent who will be filing, and the phone numbers that will be used for filing. The price is $40 per minute. For more information, call Reuters in London at 44 71 510-5361. AFP charges a similar fee and asks that journalists contact their commercial office in Paris about arranging for the use of satellite phones. Your news organization must agree to pay all expenses. The general number for AFP in Paris is 33 14 041-4646. Remember: When news is breaking the wire services put their own needs first, and queues for use of their satellite phones can grow long. Options once you arrive in the Balkans See the section "First Stops to Make" for information on how to file after arriving in the former Yugoslavia. % See the following sections on insurance, first aid, body armor and getting the right supplies. INSURANCE % Check your insurance coverage carefully, especially if you are not a full-time staff member of a major media organization. Some standard health insurance policies do not cover injuries incurred in a war zone. Most major media companies have policies that do, but make sure. It is essential for freelancers and stringers to determine company policy regarding injury or death while on assignment. There usually is no coverage for non-fulltime staff; if you don't have it in writing, assume it doesn't exist. Many individual medical-insurance plans do not include war zones or international travel. Emergency care overseas usually is covered, but it depends on the policy. Most hospitals overseas cannot directly bill a U.S. insurance company, so you have to pay at the time of service and submit receipts later for reimbursement. New York State's Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield and other companies have special "Only Hospital" plans for self-employed individuals. Empire's plan covers 100 percent of emergency care overseas with no deductibles and no upper limit. For more information: Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield P.O. Box 170 New York, New York 10163 212 476-7111 If you want more than just reimbursement for immediate emergency care, special war-zone coverage is available from International Medical Group, Inc. It costs from $400 to $900 per month, depending on which benefits you want to include. This coverage provides many extras, including emergency evacuation by helicopter. Insurance broker Doug Polifron can give you more details and is authorized to sell the coverage. He also can tell you about global medical coverage that is available only for expatriates who live outside their native countries. This type of policy costs $1,000 to $1,500 per year, depending on your age. Doug Polifron IMG of New York 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1911 New York, New York 10118 Phone: 212 268-5488 Fax: 212 268-5583 Over the years, CPJ has dealt with many devastating cases of freelancers and stringers, struggling to make ends meet, who began asking questions about insurance after they were injured. This shifts the burden of their care onto their friends, family, and survivors. Freelancers: If you can't handle the cost and logistics of insurance, you can't handle the cost and logistics of a bullet wound. Revise your plans. FIRST AID % Try to make time before you go to any war zone for basic first-aid instruction. It's available through the Red Cross, the YMCA, local hospitals, and other community groups. Instruction oriented towards traumatic injuries (like those handled by urban ambulance attendants) is better than garden variety courses. A course that's specific to battlefield conditions is best. The BBC has several state-of-the-art short courses for its personnel in battlefield-response training and first aid conducted by the British Army, complete with simulated combat casualties. Weeks of phone calls from CPJ have failed to turn up any equivalent battlefield first-aid program available to journalists in the United States. (If it exists we'd like to hear about it.) The Pentagon has told CPJ that it can provide no services, printed materials, or safety recommendations to U.S. journalists covering a war, unless U.S. troops are committed to the conflict Q "in which case journalists are protected by a military escort." % Get the best first-aid manual you can find, and review it, especially the sections on traumatic injury. The Red Cross offers "Standard First-Aid" for $9.60. In New York, call 212 787-1000. The U.S. Army Special Forces Medical Handbook, a more detailed, combat-oriented manual, is available from Paladin Press for $22.95, plus $4 for shipping and handling. Paladin Press P.O. Box 1307 Boulder, Colorado 80306 303 443-7250 % Get a Medic-alert bracelet indicating blood type, allergies to medications, etc. % Get a first-aid kit; you may want several. There are belt models you can wear around your waist and larger, more complete versions to leave in the car. Kits are available at drug stores and military supply stores. Every member of a crew should have one. You'll probably want to buy pre-assembled kits and supplement them, preferably in consultation with a doctor with military experience. Journalists in the field suggest including: 1. Anesthetics Q auto-inject and others. (One television company includes morphine.) 2. Multi-spectrum antibiotics. 3. Needles for injection or intra-venous use in an emergency to avoid being forced to use a needle that might be contaminated. 4. Women's sanitary napkins for instant bandages Q they're absorbent and pre-wrapped. One place with appropriate prepackaged first-aid kits is: Richard Lewis International Division BCB, Limited Cardiff, Wales Phone: 44 222 464-463 A standard model is "Dr. Brown's Expedition First-Aid Kit," which weighs three to four pounds and costs around $40. BCB also sells the belt models. The "Platoon Kit" is assembled to serve 14, or to be suitable for a longer stay. It weighs six to seven pounds and costs $190. BCB can add anesthetics, including self-inject, to their kits on request. (You will need to present documentation to establish valid use Q a press pass and a plane ticket to the Balkans is sufficient.) They can ship overseas; UPS delivers within three days. BODY ARMOR % You have to get armor. It's uncomfortable, heavy, hot, and slows you down. But most journalists in Yugoslavia point out that once shots are fired, it's too late to get out of the way. All UN and Red Cross flights into Sarajevo require passengers to wear a flak jacket and a helmet. You should take these with you, since they are not easy to find once you arrive. Most journalists recommend getting flak jackets with armor plates and flaps for neck, sides and groin. In the United States, Army-Navy military supply stores carry this equipment or can order it. Level III protection is recommended. The cost is $500 to $2,000. % The BBC, which has crews constantly in the region on rotation, has devoted considerable research into appropriate body armor for its personnel. Its choice should be seriously considered by other journalists. BBC regulation flak jackets are provided by: Tony Dedman Lightweight Body Armour, Ltd. 2 Macadam Close Drayton Fields Daventry NN11 5BT Northamptonshire, U.K. Phone: 44 327 311-020 Fax: 44 327 311-030 The BBC uses model BCJ (Ballistic Combat Jacket) for reporters, which includes a neck collar and groin protector, and weighs in at six pounds. It defends the wearer against mortar, mine, and grenade fragments, and handgun fire up to .44 magnum. Flak jackets, however, do not protect the wearer from sniper and rifle fire Q a major concern in the Balkans. Therefore, it has become standard issue to add "hard up-armor" plates to the front and back pockets of the vest, each of which adds another 10 pounds to the weight (but they do offer protection from sniper fire). The cost is around $400, plus $125 per plate. The BBC has begun to issue a separate model to cameramen as a result of recent field experience in the Balkans. The PTJ (Police Tactical Jacket) provides higher arm coverage for people likely to be holding up a camera, making for greater body exposure. This model weighs 10 pounds and is also recommended to include front and back plates. The cost for the jacket is $600, plus the cost of the plates. Journalists should make sure their jackets are treated to be water repellent (like those from Lightweight Body Armour). Kevlar (the material most jackets are made of, similar to that used for auto tires) loses its effectiveness when wet, which is a good bet in a Balkan winter. If you're interested in the BBC-issue jackets, bear in mind that overseas shipments are complicated. If you can travel through Britain, arrange to pick one up there Q the company can deliver them to you at the airport on a connecting flight with a minimum of red tape. A friend can also take them to you as hand-luggage. To box and ship jackets outside the U.K., the company must apply for an export license, which can take up to six weeks. % For journalists already on the continent, a supplier in Germany is Mehler Vario System, which can ship equipment quickly throughout Europe. Roy Gutman of Newsday purchased model UZW.S811-439 MVS III with ceramic armor protectors. The price was DM2270 plus 1140 for the armor plates, a total of about $2,100. Mehler Vario System Edelzeller Str. 53 D-36043 Fulda Germany Fax: 49 661 103-658 GET THE RIGHT STUFF It's best to go equipped with the following items, which can be time-consuming or impossible to obtain on the ground once you're there. Expect primitive conditions in many places because of war damage. So consider taking: % A sturdy, padded bag for use in the field. Photographers should get one that can hold cables, cameras and miscellaneous gear. If you need to duck or run, you've got everything in one place. % A short-wave radio, which is especially useful in remote regions to keep up on the latest news. % Extra batteries Q left in their plastic packaging so they don't lose their charge Q for all the equipment you bring. Extra still film and tapes, too. % Long video leads for monitoring camera shots from a distance. Television crew members using viewfinders have found that the glow can attract sniper fire, especially in hotel windows at night. The BBC recommends bringing a small monitor with a long video lead for viewing shots away from windows or other places that might attract attention from snipers. % Half-bottles of scotch and brandy, chocolate, and coffee for barter at checkpoints, etc. Preferred cigarettes are reported to be Marlboros or Rothmans. Children like candy and gum. % Currency in small denominations. Deutschemarks seem to be the favorite, followed by U.S. dollars. (Bring more than one currency.) Try to change money before you get there, since only large denominations may be available in the region. % A sleeping bag. Expect low temperatures during the winter, and minimal comforts. Carry a sleeping bag, as well as a towel. % Waterproof matches, long-life candles, flashlights (both head-mounted and hand-held), a water filter and water purification tablets. Blackouts are routine; anticipate power failures in many areas. % A list with phone numbers of family members, employers, colleagues in the region. Include UN and Red Cross field offices, and other organizations that can help in an emergency. (You can note your personal numbers on the last pages of this guidebook and keep it in your pocket.) % Extremely durable, preferably waterproof shoes or boots, already broken in, with flexible soles and good traction. % Avoid bringing clothing or field equipment that looks like military- issue. You don't want to be mistaken for a soldier. FIRST STOPS TO MAKE % The best places to start are Belgrade or Zagreb, major cities with a full array of services Q such as car rental agencies Q where you can learn more about the really dangerous places like Sarajevo or Mostar. If you plan to cover the war in Bosnia, Zagreb is probably the better stepping-off point. % A good first stop is the local press office of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), where you can get a UN press card. This card is a must. It is recognized by all sides and gives you access to UN facilities and transportation. (See the next section on how to get the card.) The UNPROFOR office also can provide updates on shifting front lines and information about traveling with UN agencies. UNPROFOR Zagreb: 38 541 180-011 Belgrade: 38 111 130-524 % Also contact the press offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for up-to- date information from the field. UNHCR Zagreb: 38 541 629-599 Belgrade: 38 111 444-4244 % Check in with the national press bureaus of Croatia and Serbia. They can provide local press credentials and arrange travel with military units. They also can provide maps, rental-car information, and local guides. It can be difficult to reach Sarajevo by phone from Croatia or other parts of former Yugoslavia. But if you go to Sarajevo, check with the Bosnian press office. If you want to go to the Serbian side, call the Bosnian Serb Press Office before you go. You can always find someone who speaks English at the offices listed below, and often someone who speaks German, French, or Spanish. Bosnian Government Press Office Sarajevo: 38 771 472-532 or 663-863 Croatian Foreign Press Bureau Zagreb: 38 541 425-530 or 426-141 Split: 38 558 364-799 or 522-888 Serbian International Press Center Belgrade: 38 111 637-722 or 621-777. Bosnian Serb International Press Center Pale: 38 771 784-357 or 783-953 % Another useful stop would be the local offices of international aid agencies, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They can provide current information on war fronts and on their own relief activities. It is also good to know them in case you get held by military units or otherwise find yourself in trouble. The ICRC is the best-equipped organization to get information about and establish contact with journalists who have been captured by any side Q whether the captors admit it or not. If a friend or colleague is captured or disappears, immediately notify the local Red Cross office and the ICRC's Journalists Hot Line in Geneva. Journalist Hot Line Geneva Phone: 41 22 734-6001 (Ask for Journalist Hot Line) Fax: 41 22 734-8280 Red Cross Local Offices: Zagreb: 38 541 612-444 or 610-011 Belgrade: 38 111 761-063 Sarajevo: 38 771 664-842 % All of these places Q the UN offices, the press bureaus, the aid agencies Q along with the lobbies and bars of the big hotels, are places where journalists moving to and from various war fronts gather and exchange information. All these agencies have offices in other cities, as well, that can be good places to stop for local information as you move around. Check in Zagreb or Belgrade for their phone numbers and locations. % Check with local embassies or consulates, too Q especially your own. Notify them of your presence in the country and how to reach your employer or family in case of an emergency. U.S. Embassies Zagreb: 38 541 456 000 Belgrade: 38 111 645-655 (After hours: 38 111 646-481) As this edition went to press, the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo was still being set up and communications were spotty. Press officer Yolanda Robinson could be reached, however, by calling these numbers in Vienna: U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo Phone: 431 405-3347 Fax: 431 408-8288. For briefing information, check other embassies as well Q the more extensive the country's involvement in peacekeeping and relief efforts, the more likely they are to have up-to-date field information. This makes British, German, French, and Canadian officials good bets. % The UN pass and an identification card from your news organization are important to carry everywhere. National credentials from the press bureaus also are important, especially when dealing with armies in the field. But don't flash a Croatian pass to a Serb, a Serbian pass to a Croat, and so forth. Journalists recommend hiding one group's ID if you enter another group's territory. Likewise, don't carry Serbian paraphernalia or literature into Croatian or Bosnian areas and vice versa. % The word "press" in English is commonly understood, so you can fall back on it if you have to, but it's a good idea to learn some useful words in Serbo-Croatian. (The alphabet varies in different parts of the region, but the terms are basically the same in pronunciation.) * Journalist: "Novinar" (NOO-vee-nar). * Thank you: "Hvala" (ha-VAla). * Friend: "Prijatelj" (pree-YA-tel-yeh). * Don't shoot: "Ne pucaj" (ne PU-tsai). * Safe?: "Slobodno" (slo-BOD-no). % Exercise caution in identifying local guides or "fixers" to translate and help you get around. Fixers may find you; they tend to make their way to the larger hotels. The going rate is anywhere from nothing to $150 a day depending on their interest in travelling with you, their talents, and your respective negotiating abilities. They may come equipped with a car. Local journalists can be a good option because they have their own sources and can help you report. Question prospective guides so you know their political angle on things Q everybody in the Balkans has one Q and take it into account as you work together. Places to start might be relatively independent journals (although their survival is threatened by local authorities). Freelancers can also try calling the local bureaus of Reuters, Agence France Presse and other wire services to ask if they can suggest guides/translators. See the phone directory at the end of this guidebook for numbers of international and local press offices. Don't pressure guides to go where they might get in trouble because of their ethnicity or nationality. A guide's name may provide hostile forces with a clue to his/her ethnic or religious background if you cross regional boundaries. In general, use guides only in their own ethnic or national territory. % It can be difficult to make phone calls to other countries from Bosnia. If you don't have your own satellite phone or telex, and if you haven't made arrangements with a wire service to use their facilities (see the "Getting Started" section) then you'll have various options in the Balkans. The best choice is to find a working telephone at a hotel, home or business. But if you're in the field where this is not possible, here are some possibilities: * Ask UN agencies. There is a satellite phone network with "pay phones" at 40 UN locations. You can purchase pre-paid phone cards in denominations of $15, $25, and $50 to make international calls. The cost per minute is $3 to $5, except to the U.S., which is only $1.65 a minute. These phones are not equipped for fax or modem transmissions, although you might be able to send short, one- or two-page faxes if you have a portable fax machine. For more information: TeleData International Zagreb: 38 541 815-071 * Seek out British forces working with UNPROFOR. In Vitez, they can provide transmission facilities and will charge your news organization. Other UNPROFOR units also might provide communications assistance. * Use the satellite telephone of the Muslim charity organization Mer Hamet, which is based at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo. The cost is $15 per minute, which is less than the wire services charge, but you must pay in cash. Mer Hamet also will receive faxes for you. Mer Hamet Fax: sat* 87 11 121-230 UN PRESS CREDENTIALS The press card issued by the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) is essential. It is recognized by all sides to the conflict. It is required to get on UN flights to and from Sarajevo. It is necessary at UN, Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian checkpoints. The UNPROFOR press card is issued for six months at a time and can be obtained only in Zagreb and Belgrade. % To get an UNPROFOR press card, you need to present a letter from your editor or producer indicating: *Your full name *Your passport number *Nature and duration of your tenure with the organization *General description of your assignment in the region *Statement that the news organization takes responsibility for your use of the press card *The date you are arriving in Zagreb or Belgrade This letter can be faxed to UNPROFOR press accreditation offices in advance, which can help you avoid a delay in getting the press card once you arrive in Zagreb or Belgrade. UNPROFOR Press Offices Zagreb Phone: 38 541 180-011, ext.2446 Fax: 38 541 172-488 Belgrade Phone: 38 111 130-524 Fax: 38 111 694-592 % When you arrive at the accreditation office, you need to have: *Two passport size photos of yourself .