FEBRUARY 17 2012 22:43h
Vjesnik is shutting down, Vjesnik is not shutting down, Vjesnik is shutting down though! Confusing uncoordinated statements of high ranked Government’s sources, Slavko Linic who was first to release the news, Government services for public relations that denied the minister of finance and the Government vice-president Radimir Cacic who eventually confirmed the news in the 24 hours period, is completely secondary in this case. The most highlighted fact is that the most influential duo of Milanovic’s team decided to shut down the one and only non-privatized daily newspaper of long term tradition, as it seems they missed the last chance to turn Vjesnik into a public informative media of quality, reliability and professionalism that will affect other informative media to evolve. It is simple, like in the time when the first tabloids have appeared and caused degradation of other valuable newspaper and television, that’s how one different and good (that doesn’t mean boring or old-fashioned) Vjesnik could have reversed that trend in the positive direction.
Cacic and Linic primarily see losses and weak readership figures of Vjesnik. None of those can be denied although every informed person will blame it on the politics. From 90’ till nowadays, authorities used to violate pages of that newspaper over editorial and management teams by its destroying reputation and impact. What happened with money from the budget, who participated in over exaggeration about Vjesnik’s costs, how mobile and immobile assets disappeared, everything remained in the second plan. Milanovic’s Government gave itself a role of a grave digger as it will probably skip answers to that question.
Now when there is Twitter, who needs Vjesnik for! Except to announce over Twitter the decision about shutting down Vjesnik. The policy that was violated and destroyed Vjesnik, mostly due to intercession of HDZ reign, now wants to throw it away like an empty shell and meantime clear out last square meters of well-known Vjesnik’s building. And landowners have been working on it for a long period of time. The situation is similar to Kamensko, even some ‘’players’’ are the same.
It is impossible to expect compassion for such newspaper with low readership figures when you have thousands of people who will lose their jobs. But for Croatian citizens, if we agree on the fact that Twitter generation is still not prevailing, Vjesnik wasn’t any kind of newspaper. Furthermore, the decision about shutting down Vjesnik was brought in time of growing conscious about Croatian media space being devastated by yellow press and tabloids. Every country from the environment we like to compare us with, has not only one but a few serious national newspapers (we will be convinced in that in Slovenia and Austria and Czech Republic and Italy) but the policy of the Croatian authority was to discredit such newspaper, and to indirectly control other. The foreign owners, secret owners, suspected owners – they all used to be frequent guests of Banski dvori and discreet political saloons so a true freedom of media was suppressed on margins of poor news pages.
Milanovic's Government had a chance to change something before it becomes a victim of media yellowness itself, but it started to act like there is no problem to observe. It inherited a mess of public television. It inherited the informative agency which gives its contents for a high price so as a public service, it actually became unreachable for the public. Every informative newspaper except Vjesnik is in private ownership and not so good in shape so there is no hope that some new private publisher will start some different newspaper in some foreseeable future. Informative pages are expensive work and have never brought money that could have built business fortune. But those kinds of newspapers used to have valuable real-estates as it could have served to make individual business and political interest come true. It could have served to develop other business areas even like production of mare's milk stimulated by state.
So what are the citizens left with, they are used to read not only rich articles of foreign and interior politics, economy, culture, city pages but sport and amusement as well and all at the same cost? They are left with information that can be squeezed in-between scandals and sensations, showbiz and gossip that ensure a profit to its owner for a short period of time. There is always the Government to inform citizens well as it will provide information over Tweeter, in other words, over anonymous ‘‘volunteers’’ who inform the nation in even 140 symbols!
Milanovic and Linic deal the state finances. Eventually they even don't have to know all political and social repercussion of such media shortage, but that is why there are other ministers in the Government who should know that. Or aren't there?