by Renata LACKO and Bozena MATIJEVIC
As we managed to find out from unofficial sources last night, yesterday afternoon the HTV staff conducted discussions about the disputed program, and in the end it was decided not to broadcast the show. We tried to reach the new HTV editor-in-chief Jasna Ulaga-Valic and the editor of the entertainment program Velimir Djuretic, but their phones were disconnected last night.
The show was cancelled because of the a part of the segment produced by journalist Elizabeta Penic, entitled "Croatienlager". That segment focuses on a Jew from Sarajevo, Blanka Auslender, who spent a year, between 1941 and 1942, in the camp in Djakovo, and later ended up in the Italian camp on the island of Rab. 41 members of her family were killed in the Holocaust. Journalist Penic, in a part of her segment, connected the existence of camps under the Ustashe regime and camps created during the war in the 90s.
"The segment shows archive footage of Ustashe camps, followed by the footage of the camp Dretelj, which was controlled in 1993 by the Croatian Defense Council. While we're watching that footage, in voiceover I say the following sentence: ‘...six decades later (referring to six decades since Aushwitz and Jasenovac), infamous Tudman's regime proved in the wastelands of historical reality that concentration camps are still an efficient mode for the solution of minority problems,'" Elizabeta Penic, the author of the controversial segment, stated last night. She added that she hadn't been contacted by anyone.
The show was supposed to include another segment, produced by journalist Ljubica Letinic, including an interview with movie director Lordan Zafranovic taped last week in Prague. The interview focused on Zafranovic's movie "Testament" [last will], filmed in the 90s, which has been banned from the HTV in Croatia. The segment also includes excerpts from the movie.
Mirko Galic, the HTV administrator said the following: "According to the law the administrator manages the TV, while the editor-in-chief makes programming related decisions".
The official statement of the HTV editor-in-chief, Jasna Ulaga-Valic, which was read yesterday in "Echoes of the day" says that yesterday, after 12 noon, editor of the entertainment program Velimir Djuretic received the finished tape of "Latinica". After watching the tape, he informed the editor-in-chief that he had concerns about parts of the program, especially about the voiceover in the segment produced by journalist Elizabeta Penic. "Journalistic code of conduct does not permit journalists to express their own explicit political views and judgments. On the contrary, a journalist is supposed to provide objective information that would make it possible for viewers to form their own judgments. Lack of professionalism in the reportage is obvious, especially in the footage of the unidentified concentration camp and camp inmates, which suggests that under Tudman's regime concentration camps were viewed as a convenient mode for the solution of minority problems," says the statement of the editor-in-chief. It adds that Denis Latin did not respond to the request of the editor-in-chief to talk, while "there was still time to edit the footage".
Last night, after the statement was read in "Echoes of the day", Denis Latin told us that he did not respond to the call of the editor-in-chief because of "technological issues". "There is no way to edit at 7p.m. the show that is supposed to be broadcast at 8:45p.m.!" Ivan Jakovcic stated last night that the censorship of the show indicates that "we are entering the twilight zone of suppression of free speech".
by Zvonimir DESPOT
"I found out about the show and problems only yesterday when Velimir Djuretic approached me and told me that he had serious objections regarding the content of the show, that the show was produced unprofessionally, and that it also exceeded the approved 90 minutes by thirty minutes. He especially drew my attention to the segment produced by Elizabeta Penic, whose assertions were not historically proven, nor is the public familiar with them, so that that also influenced my decision. Also, the legal services warned me that we would be flooded by lawsuits and that I would be held responsible. Lawsuits would be filed by the government, because the show questions the very foundation of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of Defense, Croatian Army and ordinary citizens. I decided that the controversial part should be changed, and asked Denis Latin to see me. At first he agreed, but later said that he had to stay at home because of voting. Thus, I had no choice but to ban the broadcast of the show. I invited Latin to come today to this showing, together with you. He promised that he would come, but you can see for yourself that he is not here." The HTV editor-in-chief was adamant. She announced disciplinary measures throughout the HTV organization since, as she said, there is no true communication between journalists and editors, and people come and go as they please.
Watching together with other journalists the whole show one more time, the editor-in-chief said she had other objections besides those that she had already talked about. Let us remind our readers that the most controversial is the segment produced by Elizabeta Penic, entitled "Croatienlager", in which, after a story about the tragic fate of a Jewish family from Sarajevo related through an interview with its only survivor, Bjanka Auslender, and about Nazi and Ustashe concentration camps, Elizabeta Penic said the following: "Six decades later the infamous Tudman's regime proved in the wastelands of historical reality that concentration camps are still a convenient solution for problems with ethnic minorities". The voiceover went over the footage of the HVO camp in Dretelj, from 1993.
Obviously, another controversial segment is the one produced by Ljubica Lentic, about film director Lordan Zafranovic and his movie "Testament". In the interview, Zafranovic asserts that the events in Croatia in 1991 were the same as those that took place in 1941. Moreover, Lentic suggests that the HDZ had brought back the [pro-Nazi] Independent State of Croatia (NDH) through terminology (by using NDH names for state institutions and national currency), allowing concentration of power in the hands of one person, so that the parliament served merely as a decoration, and finally through reintroduction of archaic words that were used during the NDH (such as satnija, zdrug, bojna, velered and red). Lentic concluded that the only difference between Pavelic and Tudman was that Tudman split Bosnia-Hercegovina with Serbs, that he exchanged Serbs with Milosevic and intended to civilize the Gypsies.
Thus, in the end, one of the questions was whether it was by chance that the show repeated the claims made by Milosevic in the Hague, that Croatia was created through crime. The HTV editor-in-chief responded that she is working hard on trying to convince herself that everything was a mistake.
Yesterday, Ms. Ulaga-Valic requested from HTV administrator Mirko Galic to reassign Entertainment Programming editor Velimir Djuretic to other duties. She explained that she had made that decision earlier, but that her request was speeded up by the controversial Latinica. Djuretic, who is Latin's supervisor, also watched the show yesterday and calmly received the decision of the editor-in-chief.
"It is not true that the editor-in-chief invited me, or at least informed me that the showing of the banned Latinica show would take place. Moreover, my collaborators at the HTV found it strange that no one informed them about the showing of the controversial show".