Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Piramida Affair: Tanja Šimić Resigns

Two significant movements in Croatian television today: comedian Zlatan Zuhrić Zuhra is leaving Nova TV despite being one of the channel's flagship stars, but, more seriously, Tanja Šimić has resigned as programming director of the state broadcaster HTV after taking responsibility for the comments of Croatian Serb politician Rade Leskovac on the Piramida talk show.

Leskovac, currently president of the Party of Podunavlje Serbs and once the leader of the Serbian Radical Party in eastern Slavonia during the Homeland War, appeared on Željka Ogresta's show on 11 April. His words verbatim aren't easily to hand, but it appears that 'among other things, he stated that Croatia is not a democratic state of law and that the Serbs in Croatia and BiH are not to blame for the recent war.'

Over 350 telephone complaints (and the usual discontent from veterans' groups) followed the broadcast, and a HRT Council meeting the next day held Šimić responsible and accused her of 'not taking into account the protection of national interests, particularly those connected with the Homeland War, and the highest professional standards and ethical principles'. The subject had apparently been tabled by councillor Jure Njavro, who had complained that Piramida had never invited a leading member of any Homeland War organisation on to the show, and that Ogresta had not warned Leskovac 'not to use hate speech'.

Šimić, often a close collaborator of the current director of HTV Marija Nemčić, has been temporarily replaced by sports editor Željko Vela. Hopefully the process to name her permanent replacement won't be as difficult as last month's selection of Mirko Galić's successor as director-general of HRT (overseeing both television and radio): after a closed council session ended in no clear victor and the deputy president of the council hitting a female councillor with a shoe, the position had to be re-advertised and an acting DG appointed (who turned out to be the pre-vote favourite Vanja Sutlić) so that Galić could take up his appointment as the new Croatian ambassador to Paris.

All bets are off on where this leaves Nemčić's standing in the race to formally take over from Galić, having surprisingly not entered the original election for DG)...

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At 5:00 pm, April 25, 2007, Blogger Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog


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