Thursday, March 09, 2006

From The Talk Shows

So the Moja štikla situation was supposed to have calmed down a bit? Think again: Večernji list is extremely pleased to be reporting today that the song was debated at the highest level of Croatian broadcasting by the state broadcaster's Programming Council.

On closer inspection, though, the argument actually concerned HTV's Monday-night current affairs show Otvoreno, which had chosen to discuss Štikla ahead of a rather more significant news event, the suicide of former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babić in The Hague. The Council's president Zdenko Ljevak thinks something isn't right there, and one probably has to agree.

(In fact, I should point out that you probably ought to be reading Eric's discussion of the BiH vs. Serbia genocide dispute today, instead of eavesdropping on a vaguely politicised showbusiness event. Go on. Shoo.)

The editor of HTV's information programming, Vladimir Rončević, has nonetheless argued that Monday's Otvoreno was 'the most-watched edition of Otvoreno with the highest number of calls from viewers, except for the Ante Gotovina edition which was broadcast in prime time immediately after the evening news.'

Although, as Neven Barković comments for Index:

'HTV is not a commercial station but a public one, and ratings should on no account be a justification as they were, for instance, for Nova TV when it once wanted to broadcast an interview with Ceca Ražnatović, widow of the Serbian war criminal Arkan.'

HTV has a track record of running into trouble with controversial talk shows in recent months - most of all over an edition of Latinica broadcast late last year which dealt with the historical legacy of Franjo Tudjman and led to stronger oversight from the Programming Council over the station's current affairs output.

Another HTV employee in trouble this week is Danijel Despot, the presenter of Shpitza, after Globus magazine reported last week that in 1996 he had belonged to the Association of Young Pravaši, an extreme right-wing youth movement, and written an article for the journal of the Croatian Liberation Movement (HOP) originally founded in exile by Ante Pavelić and revived in the diaspora in the early 1990s.

The story has been given slightly longer legs thanks to another member of the Shpitza team reporting on Ustaša symbols and messages of support for Ante Gotovina carried by a small number of youths at last month's charity concert by Marko Perković Thompson, Miroslav Škoro and Mate Bulić. (The item also drew comparisons between their audience and that of the hip-hop group TBF, playing their first Dom sportova concert two days later.)

Despot, however, says that he was never a HOP member, although he did associate with them during his student days, and that the article in the Nezavisna država Hrvatska journal must have been written by someone else under his name. One of the concert organisers would still welcome his resignation for 'finding two minors and placing them as the leitmotif of the whole concert'.

The Despot case could in fact have rather more implications than the slučaj Štikla, but is that likely to slow the latter down? Not quite yet.


At 11:20 pm, March 09, 2006, Blogger Eric Gordy said...

No way, I'm sticking with reading about the ethnopoliticised showbiz.

At 3:55 pm, March 11, 2006, Blogger Catherine said...

I was talking to Dean about me doing something on the Štikla saga, BTW, and he likes the idea, so you may get to hear about it in November too!

At 4:25 pm, March 11, 2006, Blogger Eric Gordy said...

Maybe there is room for a comparison with Branka Sovrlic's cover of Cassandra's "Bilo bi dobro"? Or the explosion of Oliver Dragojevic imitators on the far side of the border?

At 11:16 am, March 12, 2006, Blogger Catherine said...

Hmm, those are good points. The only thing is, though, there's already someone (at CEU) researching music in Serbia with a very similar approach to mine (and she's doing it very well! We were lucky enough to be on the same panel at a conference last month), so I'd be reluctant to tread too far on her toes in that respect...

At 2:31 am, March 13, 2006, Blogger Eric Gordy said...

Would that have been Marija Grujic? She's doing good stuff.

At 12:32 pm, March 13, 2006, Blogger Catherine said...

That's the one! She's doing some great work.


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