|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2008)|
|First issue||23 November 1995|
|19 June 2012
|Company||NCL Media Grupa|
|Based in||Zagreb, Croatia|
Nacional was a Croatian weekly news magazine published in Zagreb from 1995 to 2012. Founded and owned by photographer and journalist Ivo Pukanić, Nacional quickly gained a reputation for tabloid-style reporting and critical articles about the conservative HDZ-led government. During most of its existence its main rival was Globus published by Europapress Holding (EPH).
In 2000 Pukanić stepped down as editor-in-chief to oversee the launch of his short-lived daily Republika, which was meant to compete with EPH's Jutarnji list. Republika was launched in late 2000 only to fold in May 2001 due to low circulation. After 2000 Nacional's editorial policy shifted to include more business and entertainment content. Following the failure of Republika Pukanić returned to the magazine as an investigative reporter.
Shortly after Pukanić's 2008 assassination the magazine's sales plummeted, and in 2010 it was bought by a Swiss media company owned by Harald von Seefried. Soon after the acquisition a group of journalists dissatisfied by the new owner's editorial policies left Nacional to found a rival weekly called Aktual, whose first issue was published in June 2011.
Nacional was started in 1995 by Denis Kuljiš, Ivo Pukanić and other journalists dissatisfied with the editorial policies of Croatian weekly newspaper Globus. Both publications were hostile to the ruling HDZ government. Soon, a bitter competition developed between the two magazines, as they tried to grab the same readership using the same techniques of investigative journalism. Both magazines became renowned for publishing sensational articles against political opponents often based on the alleged testimonies of anonymous or fictional witnesses.
In late 1990s Nacional’s circulations plummeted following the launch of Jutarnji list. At the end of 2000, Ivo Pukanić borrowed a loan from the Hypo bank and launched the Republika daily. Critics immediately accused the bank of influencing editorial policy and complaints of excessive advertising soon flooded in. Readers couldn’t distinguish between news articles and advertisements. It shut down after just six months with a reported loss of DM 600,000 per month. On September 5, 2001, Zagreb’s Foreign Press Bureau reported Republika: "Promised to be a respectable political newspaper. However, its profile quickly swung this paper close to being considered a tabloid. Namely, its CEO, Ivo Pukanić, is known to advocate publishing unconfirmed news, which frequently led to unfounded accusations and even litigation. Pukanić's reason for closing down the newspaper was its low readership, i.e. inadequate sales."
Pukanić then intensified Nacional’s editorial policy against leading figures in the ruling HDZ. He was the first journalist to attack Croatian general Ante Gotovina with accusations of criminality (Nacional 204. 10.13.1999). These attacks continued between 1999-2000 in the run-up to a crucial governmental election where the HDZ was replaced. The articles bore a familiar pattern: Croatian war veterans were liberally denounced as drunkards, war profiteers, arms fixers and drug barons. Some verged on the farcical. Unidentified senior officers of the Croatian Ministry of Defence were accused of arms dealing with the IRA and ETA. This was clearly intended to signify General Gotovina whom Pukanić had previously accused as being the chief collaborator in an alleged presidential coup. The allegations were later discovered to have been fabricated in order to boost Nacional’s sales.
In 2001, General Gotovina was indicted by the ICTY and went into hiding. The general enjoys widespread support amongst the Croatian public. Pukanić claims to be the only journalist to have interviewed Gotovina since his disappearance and Nacional has published a number of articles apparently supportive to him. Gotovina supporters view Nacional’s motives with suspicion however and many consider it as commercial exploitation. Suspicions are also abound due to Pukanić’s self-confessed close relationship with Croatian police chiefs working alongside MI6 agents in Operation Cash - the undercover operation to catch Gotovina.
After the year 2000, Nacional shifted its editorial policies to include more business and entertainment oriented content. Today's Nacional is similar in format and content to German language newsweeklies.
Nacional is owned by its editors and journalists, Ivo Pukanić being the majority shareholder.
Ivo Pukanić was assassinated by car bomb at 18:20 CET on 23 October 2008 outside the offices of Nacional. Niko Franić, marketing director at Nacional also died in the explosion. Two others were injured.
- Official website (Croatian) (English)