Why does Croatian Media Give Revisionists a Platform?

Hits: 682

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!
Western Christianity and its Traditional Discrimination In Favour of the Right Wing Politics
My choicest political adviser is God who told me to run for the Presidency Rev. Pat Robertson, quoted in the Church Times, March 1988. When all countries lived under absolutist governments the Churches enjoyed a much closer relationship with the State than they do in democratic societies. Some of most cruel rulers in history were happily accommodated by the Church. (Vlad the Impaler was a convert to Roman Catholicism). In recent centuries the Roman Church has always favoured authoritarian regimes that have allowed it privileges, while opposing liberal and democratic governments that have not. For example, in 1862 Pius IX concluded a ...
READ MORE
Why the Latest Claims Against Assad are a Pack of Lies
With a critical public increasingly turning to social media to scrutinize the claims of the mainstream as well as the credibility of the assertions made by the various NGOs and government-funded human rights organisations, it’s arguably becoming more difficult for the corporate press to pass their propaganda off as legitimate news. This is particularly the case during periods when the establishment pushes for military conflicts. One salutary lesson from the Iraq debacle, is that the public appear not to be so readily fooled. Or are they? It’s a measure of the extent to which the mass media barely stray from their paymasters ...
READ MORE
Mother Teresa India Charity ‘Sold Babies’
A woman working at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has been arrested for allegedly selling a 14-day-old baby.Two other women employees from the centre have been detained and are being questioned about other possible cases.Police took action after the state’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC) registered a complaint.The charity has not responded to BBC requests for comment.“We have found out that some other babies have also been illegally sold from the centre,” a police official told BBC Hindi’s Niraj Sinha. “We have obtained the names of the mothers of these babies and are further ...
READ MORE
These Horrible Chemical Weapons Were Created & Used During the First World War
Chemical weapons are an invention of the western war machine. Introduced into trench warfare by the French in 1915, over 190,000 tons of chemical weapons were produced during World War 1. There were an estimated 1.3 million casualties caused by chemicals during the war, with 90,000 fatalities. Often referred to as the “Chemists War,” World War I saw the rise of chemical weapons being used on the battlefield. It all began with the French Army, who used tear gas in the form of small grenades. These small grenades didn’t hold much gas, and were largely undetected by German forces. The French issued ...
READ MORE
The Myth of “Aggressive Russia”
Recently I went on a 15 day visit to Russia organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives. The group visited Moscow, the Crimean peninsula, Krasnodar (southern Russia) and St. Petersburg. In each location we met many locals and heard diverse viewpoints. CCI has a long history promoting friendship and trying to overcome false assumptions between citizens of the USA and Russia. The founder Sharon Tennison has focused on making people-people connections including the business community, Rotary clubs, etc.. This delegation was organized because of concern about escalating international tensions and the danger of a drift toward world threatening military conflict. We ...
READ MORE
Do We Really Want War with Russia?
War with Russia appears increasingly likely as the US and its NATO satraps continue their military provocations of Moscow.As dangers mount, our foolish politicians should all be forced to read, and then re-read, Prof. Christopher Clark’s magisterial book, ‘The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.’ What is past increasingly appears prologue.Prof. Clark carefully details how small cabals of anti-German senior officials in France, Britain and Russia engineered World War I, a dire conflict that was unnecessary, idiotic, and illogical. Germany and Austria-Hungary of course share some the blame, but to a much lesser degree than the bellicose French, ...
READ MORE
“Islamic State Déjà Vu”
Author’s note: The following article focussing on the jihadist terrorist insurgency in Macedonia was first published by antiwar.com in July 2001, barely two months before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.Known and documented, since the Soviet-Afghan war, recruiting Mujahedin (“holy warriors”) to fight covert wars on Washington’s behest had become an integral part of US foreign policy. A report of the US Congress had revealed how the US administration – under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake – had “helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base” leading to the recruitment ...
READ MORE
Gibraltar: A Tax Haven not a Nation
Gibraltar is famous for its 426m high limestone ridge and tax haven status. It is also famous for having Europe’s only wild population of monkeys – all 320 of them. It boasts a total area of just 6.8 square kilometres or 2.6 square miles, a total area approximately one third smaller than Bicester Village Shopping Mall in Oxfordshire. Most of the population of this peninsula live in flats, crammed on land at the base of the rock where around 12% of the workforce is employed by Gibraltar’s big online gaming industry, who are there to evade taxes – quite legally of course. ...
READ MORE
Breaking the Constitution: Lithuania Seeks the Permanent Presence of the U.S. Troops on its Territory
As it appears Lithuania expects major changes in the near future. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius was on an official visit to the United States of America from the 20 to the 24 of February 2017. During a visit he said that Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of United States troops in its territory."We have requested stationing of military forces in our country on a more permanent basis - not only rotational but also more permanent," the minister told BNS in the telephone interview from Washington D.C.Linas Linkevicius' call for the permanent presence of United States troops in Lithuania territory ...
READ MORE
Accusing Russia: Listening to History
The prophet Cassandra’s curse was that when she told the future, no one listened; history’s curse is that when it tells the past, no one does.The West has no shortage of charges it hurls against Russia, but most of them can be grouped into one of three categories: that Russia intervened in the American elections, that Russia is dragging the world into a new cold war, and that Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive and expansionist. Sometimes when charges are brought against you, the best witness you can call to your defense is history.Election InterventionThis history of Russia, America and political ...
READ MORE
The Waffen SS Against the Serbian Chetniks: Heinrich Himmler’s Inspection Tour in Kraljevo, Serbia (October 1942)
Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler arrived in Kraljevo, German-occupied Serbia on Thursday, October 15, 1942 to inspect the 7th Waffen SS Mountain Division “Prinz Eugen”. Himmler spent four days in Serbia, leaving on Sunday, October 18. The first offensive or operation of the Prinz Eugen division, the anti-guerrilla military operation against the Kopaonik region of central Serbia, was to attack the Chetnik guerrillas under Draza Mihailovich in the Kopaonik, Goc and Jastrebac mountains of central Serbia. Prinz Eugen attacked Chetnik troops under Chetnik Major Dragutin Keserovic. Himmler was photographed arriving in an air field in a German Junkers Ju 52 transport plane. Te ...
READ MORE
A. Merkel’s Responsibility for Kosovo
Dietmar Hartwig, former head of the EU (EEC) Monitoring Mission in Kosovo and Metohija (ECMM) in his 2007 warning letter:“MERKEL RESPONSIBLE FOR KOSOVO PRECEDENT AND DIVIDING SERBIAN PEOPLE”It seems that the recent developments in Europe, and in particular the push of secessionism (Catalonia), rings a bell, or rather is reminiscent of certain events. The ensuing ones are shedding more light on the roles of the EU (EEC), the USA and Germany. To what extent have they been guided by the principles of the international law and democracy in the Kosovo crisis? How much did they appreciate the reports of their ...
READ MORE
The Vatican and Albanians in Kosovo
Does the Vatican know what the Albanian bishops in Novo Brdo are doing? – the question many Serbs asked these days.The Albanian Roman Catholic mass was Served in Serbian ancient town and mine, Novo Brdo, in Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Nikola. All was done secretly and illegally, as is usually done by those who are self-aware of the guilt, Albanian Roman Catholic bishops held a mass at the remains of the ancient Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in Novo Brdo, Kosovo and Metohija.The Mass, served by the Roman Catholic Bishop of so-called Kosovo Dodd Jerji and the Archbishop ...
READ MORE
Serbia: Parliamentary Elections for the NATO/EU’s Membership
Author’s note: a draft version of the article was originally written at the end of December 2015 and published in March 2016. This is the extended article’s version.On April 24th, 2016 Serbia faced three-level elections: for the national parliament, local municipalities and Vojvodina’s autonomous provincial administration. The elections did not cover Kosovo province as current Serbia’s pro-NATO/EU’s government already two years ago de facto recognized in its negotiations with the EU and Pristina’s government that this province is not any more an integral part of the legal and administrative system of the Republic of Serbia. Nevertheless, these elections were in ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: An Evil Little War (Almost) All US Candidates Liked
Although the 2016 presidential election is still in the primaries phase, contenders have already brought up America’s failed foreign wars. Hillary Clinton is taking flak over Libya, and Donald Trump has irked the GOP by bringing up Iraq. But what of Kosovo? The US-led NATO operation that began on March 24, 1999 was launched under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine asserted by President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. For 78 days, NATO targeted what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – which later split into Serbia and Montenegro – over alleged atrocities against ethnic Albanians in the ...
READ MORE
Brexit: A Challenge to America’s Domination of Europe
A Unified Europe: Born In the USAWhile Brexit versus the continuation of the European Union is a hot news topic, few know the secret who and why of the EU’s creation.The lead financial writer at the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, wrote in 2000:Declassified American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe.***The head of the Ford Foundation, ex-OSS officer Paul Hoffman, doubled as head of ACUE [below, we’ll explain who these players are] in the late Fifties. The State Department also played a role. A memo ...
READ MORE
Trolling Russia
The edifice of the post-1991 world order is collapsing right before our eyes. President Putin’s decision to give a miss to the Auschwitz pilgrimage, right after his absence in Paris at Charlie festival, gave it the last shove. It was good clean fun to troll Russia, as long as she stayed the course. Not anymore. Russia broke the rules.Until now, Russia, like a country bumpkin in Eton, tried to belong. It attended the gathering of the grandees where it was shunned, paid its dues to European bodies that condemned it, patiently suffered ceaseless hectoring of the great powers and irritating baiting of the East European small-timers alike. But something broke there. The lad does ...
READ MORE
Draza Mihailovich in Film and TV: On the Set of the TV series Ravna Gora
Ravna Gora is a Serbian television series produced by Radio Televizija Srbija (RTS) and Contrast Studios which will debut on November 2, 2013 on Serbian television. The series began filming on July 24, 2012 on location in Mokra Gora in western Serbia. The series will be a trilogy entitled “1941-1945”. The first part, Ravna Gora, will consist of 15 episodes each an hour in length. It is a historical dramatization of the events that occurred in Yugoslavia during World War II when the country was invaded, occupied, and dismembered by the Axis. The series focuses on the rival guerrilla movements ...
READ MORE
US, UK and Anglosphere: Human Rights Abuses and War Crimes Trash Magna Carta 800th Anniversary
15 June 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede. Magna Carta notably gave English “free men”  freedom from arbitrary, non-judicial  imprisonment, dispossession, outlawing,  banishment or destruction  by the ruler, a freedom that was variously progressively extended to all citizens and subjects in the Anglosphere  over the next 8 centuries. However the US, UK, Apartheid Israel, and Australia have continued to grossly violate  this freedom in the 21st century.King John I of England reluctantly  granted the Magna Carta ("the Great Charter") on 15 June 1215 after leading Barons  had insisted on formal ...
READ MORE
A Croatian Role in the Destruction of Yugoslavia in the 1990s (II)
Part I The basic cornerstones of the Croat ultraright nationalistic ideology From the point of the ideology of the extreme Croat nationalism, the cardinal goal of ultraright nationalistic parties, groups, ideologists and politicians was to create for the first time after 1102 an independent, as much as a Greater and finally “Serben-frei” Croatia. In the 1990s it was an exactly ultraright nationalistic ideology that provided the main background for creation of a new normative order and values in the HDZ’s Croatia. This ideology had five cardinal cornerstones which gave the framework for building a new institutional order, political values and means to ...
READ MORE
Western Christianity and its Traditional Discrimination In Favour of the Right Wing Politics
Why the Latest Claims Against Assad are a Pack of Lies
Mother Teresa India Charity ‘Sold Babies’
These Horrible Chemical Weapons Were Created & Used During the First World War
The Myth of “Aggressive Russia”
Do We Really Want War with Russia?
“Islamic State Déjà Vu”
Gibraltar: A Tax Haven not a Nation
Breaking the Constitution: Lithuania Seeks the Permanent Presence of the U.S. Troops on its Territory
Accusing Russia: Listening to History
The Waffen SS Against the Serbian Chetniks: Heinrich Himmler’s Inspection Tour in Kraljevo, Serbia (October 1942)
A. Merkel’s Responsibility for Kosovo
The Vatican and Albanians in Kosovo
Serbia: Parliamentary Elections for the NATO/EU’s Membership
Kosovo: An Evil Little War (Almost) All US Candidates Liked
Brexit: A Challenge to America’s Domination of Europe
Trolling Russia
Draza Mihailovich in Film and TV: On the Set of the TV series Ravna Gora
US, UK and Anglosphere: Human Rights Abuses and War Crimes Trash Magna Carta 800th Anniversary
A Croatian Role in the Destruction of Yugoslavia in the 1990s (II)
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share

About White Nettle

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published on this website. The views of the authors presented on this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically, or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government, or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically, or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu