Why does Croatian Media Give Revisionists a Platform?

Share

Hits: 672

In recent weeks, we have witnessed yet again how public broadcaster Croatian Radio-Television, HRT, continues to offer a platform to obscure historical revisionists.

Jasenovac’s reality

Last week, while presenting the Festival of Patriotic Film dedicated to Goran Lederer, a Croatian journalist killed by the Yugoslav People’s Army in 1991, the organisers of the festival were given time to present highly controversial films on HRT’s widely-viewed morning show ‘Good Morning Croatia’.

Besides the fact that the main organiser of the festival is a war veterans’ association whose president and founder was Croatian war criminal Tomislav Mercep, their selection of films is symbolically even worse.

“There is also the ‘The Jasenovac Myth’ by Roman Leljak. I’m glad you’ve included him too, he’s been investigating a lot about this, so it’s going to be interesting to look at his two films,” host Liljana Vinkovic said excitedly, while holding a printed advert for the film.

“We need to go with the truth, and it is high time that we don’t divide ourselves up into left and right and that we accept the past as it is,” Smiljan Tomasevic, one of the organisers, then said.

Leljak is a Slovenian self-proclaimed researcher of Communist crimes and his documentary film and book ‘The Jasenovac Myth’ both seek to completely distort historical facts and research into the Jasenovac concentration camp, run by the Croatian fascist Ustasa movement between 1941 and 1945.

In his film, using the tactic of flashing cherry-picked documents in the face of viewers, Leljak wants to “deconstruct” what he calls the “myth about Jasenovac”, which he claims was constructed by the Yugoslav Communists. In the film, he alleges that the official, research-based name-by-name list of 83,145 deaths at the concentration camp is massively inflated from the “real” number of 1,500.

Leljak also claims that Jasenovac camp continued working as a camp until 1948, it becoming more brutal under the Communist management. This is a favourite historical fallacy in Croatia’s far-right parallel universe – which looks like Upside Down world in Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ series.

Actually, it is enough to look into Leljak’s personal history and the criminal deeds of which he has been convicted, as well as his contradictory statements, to see how reliable he is.

But all this wasn’t enough for HRT’s hosts, who casually talked about ‘The Jasenovac Myth’ in the context of ‘patriotic films’, although the connection between downplaying Ustasa crimes and patriotism eluded me.

During the same TV show, the hosts presented another controversial documentary, ‘A Hundred Years of Serbian Terror – From Karadjordjevic and Pribicevic to Vucic and Pupovac’, by the king of the ‘alternative facts’ genre, Jakov Sedlar.

In the film, Milorad Pupovac, an MP representing Croatia’s Serb minority, is portrayed alongside the Yugoslav king Aleksandar Karadjordjevic – who suspended parliament and political parties, introducing a dictatorship – and current Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who is known for his inflammatory rants against Bosniaks in the 1990s.

Jasenovac’s reality

Photoshopping history

Sedlar’s film continues to make the same argument he has for years -that the Ustasa regime was only a reaction to the brutal Serbian repression of Croats.

He explicitly argues this in his historical quasi-documentary ‘Jasenovac – The Truth’, which caused its own share of outrage when it premiered in Zagreb in 2016.

Amid the numerous misconceptions and factual mistakes in the film, I’ll just mention an attempt to present a Photoshopped cover of state daily newspaper Vjesnik from 1945 as ‘proof’ of the lies told by the Yugoslav regime about Jasenovac.

When it was released, it was also HRT that gave Sedlar a platform to present his fraudulent film.

In May this year, HRT then offered a platform to another self-described researcher, Igor Vukic. His book ‘Labour Camp Jasenovac’ is also in the line with Leljak’s and Sedlar’s theories about the concentration camp.

According to Vukic, Jasenovac was just a mere labour and punishment camp for the enemies of the Croatian state. Like Leljak, he claims the death toll was only around 1,500, and that Jasenovac became a death camp only in the post-war years, under the Communists.

On HRT’s ‘Good Day Croatia’, show Vukic casually went on to explain how Jews were sent there only to be saved from deportations to Nazi camps. The hosts did offer an awkward unpleasant smile, but allowed Vukic to continue – after all, the show must go on.

Amid the shock created by the show, one of the hosts, Marina Medved Pulic, said that she allowed Vukic to speak because he claimed he had talked to witnesses and seen documents.

All this goes to prove that these ‘incidents’ are not exceptions, but the rule – they are part of HRT’s editorial policy.

To be fair though, HRT isn’t the only mainstream media outlet offering a platform to revisionists.

It was daily newspaper Vecernji list’s commentator Milan Ivkosic in August who praised Vukic’s book in a review entitled “Jasenovac cleansed of ideology, bias and communist forgery”, which has drawn negative reactions from Holocaust experts.

In the review, Ivkosic morbidly claimed that “there was fun in the camp”, mentioning football matches and theatre plays that inmates allegedly staged.

Proof that this wasn’t an ‘incident’ either is that Vecernji published a special magazine on the history of Jews in Croatia, in which, as well as valid scientifically-grounded articles, it smuggled in an interview with Sedlar. In the interview, Sedlar is shown as a friend of the Jews, due to his professional relations with Israeli Jews – after he claimed that Ustasa were “saving” Jews.

Even Jutarnji list, which some still consider a liberal daily, has ventured into the field of rewriting history.

In its magazine History, Jutarnji published a sensational article on the 1945 battle – more like a massive shootout – between Ustasa forces and the Serbian ultra-nationalist Chetnik movement on Lijevca Field, in northern Bosnia.

The article offered a highly inflated number of killed Chetniks; the mythologised idea of an epic battle is a fairytale nurtured over the decades in both Ustasa and Chetnik emigree circles to create the impression that they were arch enemies.

In the Croatian context, the article was probably intended to serve as ‘proof’ that the Ustasa really did fight the Chetniks – whereas, in reality, there was much more collaboration than fighting between them.

Zagreb, EuroCroatia

Clickbait logic

All in all, in Croatia there is a trend towards historical revisionism in society coming from the right, with mainstream media acting as a drummer, giving tempo to the movement by offering it space.

Why do they do it? First of all, historical revisionism as such is a widespread and growing social phenomenon, with the rise of a generation of Google and Wikipedia know-it-alls. Their alleged scepticism however is solely built on ‘alternative facts’, obscure propaganda and over-simplification.

Another reason for media to give space to revisionists is sheer business logic – it’s easy clickbait.

Sensationalist interpretations of history which offer one-dimensional mythologies that conveniently dovetail with the present-day realities of poor relations between Croats and Serbs are far more appealing to an average reader. In the case of Jutarnji, the idea that “the Ustase were fascists but at least they killed Chetniks” fits in perfectly with the dominant social narrative of Croats and Serbs as ancient enemies.

In other words, as media have given up on widening the horizons of their readers, dumbing down has become the only way to go.

Also, media give a platform to revisionists under the pretext that they offer space to “all sides concerned”. Therefore a historian isn’t put in a TV duel with another historian, but with a self-proclaimed researcher without any valid academic background; a geographer with a YouTube vlogger who claims that the Earth is flat, and so on.

Yes, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but this doesn’t mean that everyone’s opinion is equally valid. I may have great ideas about treating brain cancer, but I don’t expect to be invited onto a TV show to debate with neurosurgeons and medical scientists.

But why should media give up on historical revisionism if it’s bringing them readers?

I am aware that most media outlets don’t care if victims are killed for a second time when the crime is denied. And while I also know that newspapers don’t want to enlighten their readers, media should think of the very direct consequences of their work.

Not so long ago, media in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro inflamed the masses. Either through fabricated news, fake readers’ letters, historical revisionism or simply by offering a platform “to all sides concerned”, media contributed to the violence of the 1990s.

The media can’t be blamed for starting the war, but it can be blamed for putting fear and hate into readers’ and viewers’ heads.

Newspapers, TV and radio stations never apologised for these crimes, nor did they sanction the journalists and editors involved. Some either ignored the whole thing or even continued to celebrate their wartime reporting.

Today, we don’t need their apologies anymore. We need them to stop before the spiral of hate gets out of hand.


Originally published on 2018-10-29

Sven Milekic is a PhD candidate at Maynooth University, Dublin, funded by the Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Programme.

Source: Balkan Transitional Justice

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

EuroCroatia today

READ MORE!
The Skripal Affair – Another False Flag in NATO Litany to Criminalize Russia
If we start from a premise which understands that Britain and its NATO allies are capable of mounting false flag events in Syria with chemical weapons, then it is entirely possible that British secret services carried out a similar propaganda stunt in England with regard to former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. We also need to bear in mind that British state intelligence agencies are plausibly running a covert assassination program targeting Russian exiles living in Britain – for the purpose of incriminating Moscow. Over the past two decades, more than a dozen Russian dissidents have met untimely deaths while residing in England, including ...
READ MORE
A Liberal Democracy, a Market Capitalist Economy and the Permanent Wars
War is not an anomaly, nor an exception to the rule, it has always been with us and it might always be. Militarism and its practice in war are subcategories of waste (the harmful things we produce such as pollution and bombs) and domains of accumulation themselves. They are also prerequisites for the expansion of capital and its market economy. Much is done to portray war as an inherent attribute of human fallibility or an unintended consequence. However, mainstream concepts associated with the promotion of the market economy are weapons of the ruling class. They are all laced with poison. ...
READ MORE
Importance of Russia in Global Politics
There is very bad news for the US’ policymakers: Russia is back!After the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia, both weakened and isolated, was becoming a less popular area of studying and dealing with in comparison before the end of the Cold War. Global imperialists in Washington strongly believed that after 1991 Russia was simply “finished” or, better to say, they “finished” the game with Russia as Moscow was not anymore the capital of a Great Power state which had an important influence in global politics and international relations. In other words, the American warmongers in Washington thought ...
READ MORE
Cheap Dignity of the Ukrainian Revolution
The interviews with three snipers of Georgian nationality, conducted by the Italian journalist Gian Micalessin and aired last week as a breathtaking documentary on Milan-based Canale 5 (Matrix program), still have not paved its way to the international mainstream media. That is hardly surprising taking into account the bombshell evidence against the real perpetrators and organizers of the 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, generally known as the “revolution of dignity“.The documentary features Alexander Revazishvili, Koba Nergadze and Zalogi Kvaratskhelia, Georgian military officers  who were recruited to carry out a “special mission” in Kiev by Mamuka Mamulashvili, a close aid of ...
READ MORE
Provoking the Russian Bear: NATO is “Cannon Fodder” for the American Empire
BALTOPS 16 is a military exercise now taking place between June 3 and June 18 in the Baltic Sea region which is in close proximity to Russia. The U.S. Naval Institute (www.usni.org) released an article titled ‘Analysis: Larger NATO Baltic Sea Exercise Sends Important Message to Russia’ stated what BALTOPS 16 will consist of:Over the next three weeks BALTOPS 16 will draw together some 6,000 personnel, 45 warships, and 60 aircraft from 17 nations, including the United States, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, along with the littoral states of the Baltic States who are NATO members (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, ...
READ MORE
Athens Massacre of 1944: Britain’s Dirty Secret of Winston Churchill
“I can still see it very clearly, I have not forgotten,” says Títos Patríkios. “The Athens police firing on the crowd from the roof of the parliament in Syntagma Square. The young men and women lying in pools of blood, everyone rushing down the stairs in total shock, total panic.”And then came the defining moment: the recklessness of youth, the passion of belief in a justice burning bright: “I jumped up on the fountain in the middle of the square, the one that is still there, and I began to shout: “Comrades, don’t disperse! Victory will be ours! Don’t leave. ...
READ MORE
Phantom Tanks and the Desperation of Kiev
How many times have we seen this before?The President of the United States is on TV telling us horror stories. Some innocent people in some corner of the world are being crushed, he tells us. They face some monstrously evil oppressor, he says. While the United States doesn’t like war, what choice is there? Sacrifices must be made, cruise missiles must be unleashed, to protect the poor and innocent. The world is the set of an action movie, and the US is the tragic hero, forced to rescue the innocent.This is the script we heard in former Yugoslavia. Bill Clinton ...
READ MORE
Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?
It is not only American generals who are irresponsible and declare on the basis of no evidence whatsoever that “Russia is an existential threat to the United States” and also to the Baltic states, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, and all of Europe. British generals also participate in the warmongering.  UK retired general and former NATO commander Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe until 2014, has just declared that nuclear war with Russia is “entirely possible” within the year.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3596977/The-outbreak-nuclear-war-year-West-Putin-entirely-plausible-says-former-NATO-chief-promoting-novel-2017-war-Russia.html My loyal readers know that I, myself, have been warning for some time about the likelihood of nuclear war.  ...
READ MORE
Western Kosovo Meta-Mythology and Serbian Ethnohistory
A National traumaA national trauma which the Serbs after the fall of the Serbian national state and the Ottoman occupation experienced after June 20th, 1459[i] can be compared with that felt by Judea’s Jews after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.[ii] Since Serbia soon found herself well within the Ottoman Sultanate and the European Christian states were on defense from the victorious Muslim Ottoman Turks, no light at the end of the historical tunnel was seen and the whole nation sank into deep despair for the next four centuries. In a sense, the ...
READ MORE
Thank You, Edward S. Herman (1925-2017) – Tireless Champion of Peace
Edward S. Herman died on November 11, 2017, at the age of 92. Fortunately, it was a peaceful death for a supremely peaceful man. In all he did, Ed Herman was a tireless champion of peace.Ed Herman could be considered the godfather of antiwar media critique, both because of his own contributions and because of the many writers he encouraged to pursue that work. Thanks to his logical mind and sense of justice, he sharply grasped the crucial role and diverse techniques of media propaganda in promoting war. He immediately saw through lies, including those so insidious that few dare ...
READ MORE
Who Annexed the Crimean Peninsula?
Due to the international media’s continued claims about the «annexation of Crimea», it’s been difficult for the citizens of the US and Europe to make sense of the details of the peninsula’s recent history. Exactly three years ago, on March 16, 2014, the Crimeans were offered a choice: to rejoin Russia or to return to the constitution of 1992 that proclaimed Crimea a legal, democratic, secular state whose relationship with Ukraine was based on bilateral agreements. That constitution was unilaterally abolished by Kiev on March 17, 1995, and here’s what’s surprising: no one at that time in the West demanded that the Ukrainian ...
READ MORE
Taboo Subject in NATO Media: Refugees, America’s Gift to Europe
In the latest episode in the never-ending series of indignities, calamities, and disasters to be visited upon the heads of the world’s millions of suffering and desperate refugees, they are now being stabbed in the back by the one leader of an affluent NATO country who had risked any political capital to help a substantial number of them, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.At the height of the refugee wave from NATO war zones into Turkey and Europe a couple of years ago, Merkel opened the borders and allowed nearly a million refugees into Germany. Although she is a conservative woman and ...
READ MORE
Aftermath of the US-NATO War on Yugoslavia: The Unspoken Impacts of Radioactive Depleted Uranium Ammunition
More than a decade and a half after the US-NATO- under international law illegal – war aggression against Yugoslavia using highly toxic and radioactive uranium projectiles, the enormity of this war crime becomes clear: In Serbia, aggressive cancer among young and old has reached epidemic proportions. The suffering of the people cries out to heaven. Particularly affected is the south of Serbia and Kosovo. According to the Serbian Ministry of Health, every day a child suffers from cancer. The entire country is contaminated. By harming the genetic material (DNA) generation after generation,  malformed children will be born. Knowingly and willfully, a genocide ...
READ MORE
Muslim Albanian Women from Kosovo are Training ISIS Terrorists
Accoring to the “Zeri” news agency from the city of Priština, women who join the Islamic state are mostly 23 years of age, and before joining them they were “modern girls“. One of them is Laura Huseni who was, according to the editor-in-chief of the “Zeri” magazine, a typical teenage girl from Kosovo who used to go out and have fun with her mates. – She would take a cab and go with her friends for a drink. She used to dress like all her friends, she would wear skirts of jeans. She was very modern – said Faik Ukasmajli, whose son married ...
READ MORE
Why the Albanians Need Tensions in the Province of Kosovo-Metohija Now?
One sharp and interesting  analysis of situation in Serbian province of Kosovo Metohija came last week from Andrew Korybko, program host at Radio Sputnik.Mr. Korybko speaks on how the whirlwind of geopolitics, military interests and global giants of business, as well as the change of US administration, could impact the fragile peace in Balkans and what’s behind the latest tensions:”Serbia’s NATO-occupied province of Kosovo has been up to its old tricks lately in trying to provoke Belgrade into another military confrontation conveniently timed to coincide with Trump’s inauguration.The former so-called “Prime Minister” of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, was detained in France ...
READ MORE
Western Hypocrisy About Airstrike Killings
The chemical poisoning of civilians in Syria has proved a boon and a blessing for the West’s militarists who energetically seek confrontation with Russia — and with China and any other countries that might pop up on their screens of raging aggression.  Nobody doubts for an instant that chemical agents are vile and that anyone using them offensively should be severely punished.  But the pseudo-sympathy of those who profess to be shocked — shocked! — by pictures of dead children, supposedly killed by chemical weapons, is obnoxious. Trump declared “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big ...
READ MORE
U.S. Infowar: Kosovars, Kosovo, Kosovans, Serbian Albanians, Croatian Serbs, Bosnians…
The U.S. government and U.S. media explained the mass murders of Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and other Kosovo minorities as “revenge murders”. They were “revenge attacks”. The expulsion of over 250,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, Gorani, and Jews was simply censored and deleted using the infowar technique of Emphasis. These infowar techniques have no basis in criminal law and violate fundamental values and tenets of morality and ethics. The U.S. rationale was spurious: Because Yugoslav police were defending themselves and Kosovo civilians against what the U.S. State Department itself declared were “terrorists”, the Albanian Muslim population of Kosovo had some sort of right ...
READ MORE
The USA from 1776 onward
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Serbian Patriarchate of Peć in the Ottoman Empire: The First Phase (1557−1594)
IntroductionThe goals of this article are: 1) to investigate the role of the revived Patriarchate of Peć in Serbian and Balkan history?; and 2) to explore and present the results of investigation of the problems with respect to: a) the role of the Serbian Church during the first decades of the Ottoman occupation of Serbian lands in the process of the creation of a Serbian national identity; b) Serbian-Turkish relations in the second half of the 16th century; and c) the reasons for Serbian disloyalty towards the Ottoman government at the turn of the 17th century.The article addresses the reasons ...
READ MORE
Reviving the Greater Israel Scheme
Israel’s Maariv newspaper has revealed that the government of the Zionist state is planning to drop a political bombshell in the coming weeks by presenting a bill in the Knesset (parliament) calling for the annexation of land occupied since 1967. It is likely to have the support of the majority of Knesset members. The newspaper added that the right wing has chosen this time for the move ahead of the US presidential election; America, it is believed, will be too preoccupied to care about what is happening in the occupied Palestinian territories.Preliminary talks about a first stage have been held, ...
READ MORE
The Skripal Affair – Another False Flag in NATO Litany to Criminalize Russia
A Liberal Democracy, a Market Capitalist Economy and the Permanent Wars
Importance of Russia in Global Politics
Cheap Dignity of the Ukrainian Revolution
Provoking the Russian Bear: NATO is “Cannon Fodder” for the American Empire
Athens Massacre of 1944: Britain’s Dirty Secret of Winston Churchill
Phantom Tanks and the Desperation of Kiev
Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?
Western Kosovo Meta-Mythology and Serbian Ethnohistory
Thank You, Edward S. Herman (1925-2017) – Tireless Champion of Peace
Who Annexed the Crimean Peninsula?
Taboo Subject in NATO Media: Refugees, America’s Gift to Europe
Aftermath of the US-NATO War on Yugoslavia: The Unspoken Impacts of Radioactive Depleted Uranium Ammunition
Muslim Albanian Women from Kosovo are Training ISIS Terrorists
Why the Albanians Need Tensions in the Province of Kosovo-Metohija Now?
Western Hypocrisy About Airstrike Killings
U.S. Infowar: Kosovars, Kosovo, Kosovans, Serbian Albanians, Croatian Serbs, Bosnians…
The USA from 1776 onward
Serbian Patriarchate of Peć in the Ottoman Empire: The First Phase (1557−1594)
Reviving the Greater Israel Scheme
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share