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News Archive 1997
Alternative media scene in Zagreb

From: iskoric@igc.apc.org
Newsgroups: yugo.antiwar
Subject: La Lotta Continua
Date: 01 Dec 1997

La Lotta Continua

The latest news from Zagreb turned from excellent to rather sour: Anti-War Campaign's political pop-culture magazine Arkzin secured the space for its club "Attack", the largest national daily wrote a very positive announcement of the event and a press conference was scheduled at the state television. The conspicuous was only the absence of so-called alternative media in covering the upcoming event (Radio 101, Feral Tribune, Novi List, etc.). Then, suddenly the landlord just changed his mind on the spot and refused to extend the lease to the Arkzin people branding them "anarchists and lesbians."

This adds to the continuation of the struggle between Radio 101 and Arkzin in defining the concept of "alternative" in Zagreb: Radio 101 fired Predrag Raos, as a result of the backlash after the show with Djurdja Knezevic from the Women's Infotheque, and Predrag Raos immediately accused Radio 101 of being a "regime radio," which he did through the regime press. Radio 101 meanwhile did a theme show on non-governmental organizations in Croatia generally ridiculing them as a bunch of do-nothings who mooch over western foundations for money. The closing credit song for the show was written and performed by the group/band Schmrtz, which is an Arkzin friend. The Schmrtz action divided people in Arkzin crowd, some of whom even called for a boycott of the Radio 101 after the show.

Those events were outshone by the ongoing quarrel between the Forum 21 and the Croatia's 9 over the control of the state television.

Those developments deserve deeper comment, because in Croatia, as well as in the rest of that part of Europe, often things aren't as they seem to be.
Like Forum 21 and Croatia's 9 are both groups of primarily government appointed obedience-trained journalists. Therefore the outcome of their struggle will not necessarily bring a substantial change to the press freedom in Croatia. It might be a merely Tweedledee-Tweedledum thing.

The Arkzin might be set up as a victim of a police training. Let's say that police had an objective to stop the Attack initiative with no use of force. The so-called alternative media might be easily warned to withdraw their support to the initiative, while the bigger, state controlled media did not receive the warning. That would prove the government controlled media more democratic and open than the so-called independent media. The free advertisement that Arkzin have received would easily turn to a big embarrassment and disgrace of Arkzin now, once the announcement proved to be false. The landlord, who reserves the right to have the last word in a free market world, might have easily been warned (or threatened?) to change his opinion at the last moment. So, police achieved the objective with no arrests, unwarranted searches or violence: two or three "informative discussions" and that was all.

Except that a few young people with ideals, which becomes a rare commodity in Croatia, are left short-ended. This is cruel and, in time when young people generally leave Croatia when they can, not smart.

As for Radio 101 and Arkzin - as I said they represent two poles among Zagreb youth, and my friend clarified to me that those to poles could be named: bourgeois and alternative. In a sense they are both close together as an "alternative" to the communism and nationalism of the past Yugoslavia and the present Croatia, but in a more modern sense they are as far apart as Republican youth and the Affirmative Action supporters would be in the U.S.


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