Roman Latković (born April 10, 1960) is a Croatian author, U.S. asylee, filmmaker, journalist, globetrotter, and a screenwriter. After his turbulent upbringing he became one of the most courageous Croatian journalists during the 1990s. In 1996, he was forced to leave Croatia because of his outspoken description of the dismal Croatian leadership, politics and economy.
Because of his writings, he and his family were attacked both physically and verbally in the Croatian government controlled media. His article of January 8, 1996 was one of his most memorable ones, and the one that started his severe persecution by the HDZ cronies.
Latković was born in Rijeka. During his time in Croatia, Roman Latković had been known as fearless analytic of cultural and political events in that, newly independent state, formerly a part of the former Yugoslavia. His famous political column Dvojbe Optizma (Doubts of Optimism) in the independent daily newspaper, Novi list (during the time when its Editor-in-Chief was late, legendary Veljko Vicevic) were gobbled up by readers eager to learn about his keen demasking of political charades and war-games in the war-torn Yugoslavia and post-war Croatia.
Infamous attack by governmental TV
On January 10, 1996 during the prime time TV Dnevnik (TV Daily) reaching 80% of the population, the government controlled Hrvatska Radiotelevizija (Croatian Radio-television) unleashed an eight (8) minutes long attack on Latkovic.
That attack, initiated by the president of Croatia at that time, Franjo Tudjman, created a political mass-hysteria resembling McCarthyism that lasted over three (3) months and prompted a witch-hunt against Latkovic who went into hiding to avoid assassination.
Political asylum in the United States
Kemal Kurspahić book Prime time crime: Balkan media in war and peace (US Institute of Peace Press, 2003) gives Roman Latkovic the attention he richly deserves: "Roman Latkovic observed that it (year 1997) would be remembered for the final unmasking of Franjo Tuđman who led the country to ruin. Latkovic's comment was based on the fact that Tudjman had used his imperial presidential power to prevent the opposition-nominated Zagreb mayor from taking office despite the election results. "Croatia headed by Tudjman is being reduced to a dictatorship, a Mafia-type banana republic and everybody's worst nightmare", Latkovic's commentary said. Croatian state television (HTV) immediately fired back, stating on prime-time news that "certain forces personified by Roman Latkovic have taken off their masks" and should instantly be included among "Croatia's enemies". Soon after Latkovic's commentary, the government dispatched the financial police to Novi List.
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights represented Roman Latkovic in his fight for political asylum in the United States and has published his case in its "Critique: review of the U.S. Department of State's country reports on human rights practices for 1995". (Published by Lawyers Committee for Human Rights)
Burn this house: the making and unmaking of Yugoslavia by Jasminka Udovički, James Ridgeway (Duke University Press, 2000) shares interesting info about Mr. Latkovic as well as The South Slav Journal by Dositey Obradovich Circle (University of Michigan) and Mark Thompson also writes about Latkovic's “intolerable life” in his book Forging war: the media in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina (University of Luton Press, 1999).
Articulating Europe by Jonas Frykman, Peter Niedermuller, Københavns Universitet has a moving passage on yet another Latkovic’s work: Bewitching Istria. The brief example of Latkovic’s beautiful prose could be found at: http://books.google.com/books?id=t3kYGG6mx6QC&pg=PA59&dq=roman+latkovic
Roman Latkovic published several books:
- Koh-I-NOOR za Kraljicu Margot (Koh-I-Noor for Queen Margot), a short-story collection, 1990, Rijeka
- Pavana za umrlu djevojcicu (Pavane for a Dead Girl), a novel, 1991 / 1992, Rijeka - Osijek
- Jules and Jim (Jules and Jim), a novel, 1993, Rijeka
- Vilinska Istra; a never-ending story (Betwitching Istria; a never-ending story), a curious photo-travelogue (with Ranko Dokmanovic), 1994, Italy, a book that had been translated into English, Italian and German languages
- Taoci njihove Hrvatske (Hostages of Their Croatia), collection of political articles, 2003, Heidelberg
- SEO: Facts and Fiction, a tech work on the Search Engine Optimization, with Robert F. Smallwood, 2009, his first book in the U.S.
- TWITTER: THE DARK SIDE - Does Bit.ly Enable a Massive Click Fraud?, Latkovic's second publication in the United States (October 2009), a work he co-authored with his colleague Robert LaQuey, Ph.D.
Latkovic also produced a DVD titled Capo Boost, year 2003 or 2004, in Salvador, Brazil where he had a curious encounter with Brazilian corrupt custom officilas that stole all his possessions. Always having a keen eye focused to the Presidents, following his material losses in 2003., Latkovic wrote an Open Letter to the Brazilian President Lula (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva) and challenged him to choose between his corrupt official or the children. Latkovic's Open Letter provoked an investigation against the "alfandega" (customs) in Santos.
- Capra d'Oro, the first prize award for the achievements in revitalizing the cultural life of the Istrian Peninsula. Istrian Tourist Union, Porec, Croatia: 1995
- The Best Short Story Award, Radio Television Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia: 1972
New York and Hollywood
- This exact date came from Latkovic's own post, as "Baiano Lindo" (Latkovic, as "um baiano" spent some time in Bahia, Brazil): http://forums.immigration.com/showthread.php?s=2a4d3b63c75c0130ecfd297cd537d9a9&t=136043
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- Frykman, Jonas & Niedermuller, Peter Articulating Europe, http://www.maca.ac/press/JonasFrykman.htm
- Kurspahic, Kemal Prime time crime: Balkan media in war and peace, http://www.amazon.com/Prime-Time-Crime-Balkan-Media/dp/1929223382
- Latkovic, Roman Tudjman, Just One More Brutal Communist Dictator, January 8, 1996 - http://www.ex-yupress.com/novi/novi3.html
- Latkovic, Roman Bewitching Istria, a never-ending story, http://www.istrianet.org/istria/flora/fungi/truffles-luna.htm
- Latkovic, Roman What is Eating Brazil, http://brazzil.com/2003/html/news/articles/jun03/p132jun03.htm
- Latkovic, Roman and LaQuey, Robert Twitter: The Dark Side, http://www.seo-artworks.com/Twitter/twitter-study.htm
- Lawyers Committee for Human Rights Critique: review of the U.S. Department of State's Country Reports, http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/1115.html
- Udovički, Jasminka & Ridgeway, James Burn this house: the making and unmaking of Yugoslavia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1714627
- Vukic, Igor Assault on Novi List, http://www.aimpress.ch/dyn/trae/archive/data/199604/60411-002-trae-zag.htm