Croatian ‘Free’ Media Suffers a Minor Setback

At 18:25 yesterday, a car bomb exploded in Zagreb, Croatia killing the publisher and editor-in-chief of Nacional, Ivo Pukanić and journalist, Niko Franjić. Naturally, if such an event happened in US America, the immediate response would be to blame terrorist and that “damned El Kayduh”. Such assumptions are not made in Croatia. They assume that it’s the mafia instead.
While Split has always been known to be unsafe due to all the drug activity (which is of course all from Italy as such issues can’t possibly arise domestically), the problems of safety in Zagreb have been escalating in recent events. It seems if you cross the wrong person, you can get you shot in broad daylight. Not a great image for a country relying heavily on tourism money at the moment.
Ironically, I was just having a conversation with a friend two days ago because I was asking him about Nacional and if they’re any good. They’re apparently better than most as they actually do research and create their own stories; an art lost on most in the media these days. Nacional had run a particularly scathing article on a one Davor Butković who is (or maybe was) a very prominent journalist in Croatia. The man is about as corrupt as they come and Nacional outed him on account of it. My personal grudge against Butković is for the fact that he writes blather about wine that I’ve found to be worthless. This is doubly unfortunate as it comprises the National Tourism Board’s entire Wine Guide for the country, but I digress.
Pukanić had been fearing for his life for some time. I have no idea as to what his dealings were behind the scenes, but on the surface, he appeared to try to report on what was actually wrong in Croatia. This is not a popular stance to take. It has not been a particularly free media scene since the days of Tuđman and his propaganda machine (which thusly morphed in to today’s newspapers) that was nearly on a level with Milošević’s. The death of Ivo is undoubtedly going to have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press in Croatia. If the EU ascension talks of 2009 get pushed back, I will not be surprised in the least. On the bright side, it gives all the competitors a chance to heap praise on their main opposition without losing any ground.
Croatian 'Free' Media Suffers a Minor Setback