|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
|Publisher||Slobodna Dalmacija d.d.|
|Founded||17 June 1943|
|Headquarters||Hrvatske mornarice 4,
The first issue of Slobodna Dalmacija was published on June 17, 1943 by Tito's Partisans in a cave on Mosor, a mountain near Split, which was occupied by the Italian army during that time. The paper was later published in various locations until Split was liberated on October 26 1944. From the following day onward, Slobodna Dalmacija has been published in Split.
Although it was originally viewed as a strictly Dalmatian regional newspaper, during the following decades Slobodna Dalmacija, grew into one of the largest and most widely read daily newspapers of former Yugoslavia, with its circulation reaching a zenith in the late 1980s. Slobodna Dalmacija owed much of that success to its humour section. Many of the most popular Croatian humourists, like Miljenko Smoje, Đermano Senjanović and the trio that later founded the Feral Tribune, began their careers there.
Another reason for this success was the editorial policy of Joško Kulušić, who used the decline of Communism to allow the paper to become a forum for new political ideas. In the early 1990s Slobodna Dalmacija established a reputation as the newspaper with the most politically diverse group of columnists - from the extreme left to the extreme right - and one of the few truly free media publications in Croatia, unburdened with political bias.
This state of affairs became intolerable for Franjo Tuđman and his government. In 1992, the government initiated proceedings against the paper, which would ultimately result in one of the most notorious scandals in recent Croatian history. Slobodna Dalmacija was privatised through the series of dubious administrative decisions, which resulted in Miroslav Kutle, a Zagreb businessman with close ties to the powerful defence minister Gojko Šušak, becoming the new owner. After a brief attempt to prevent the handover by strike, the paper was formally taken over in March 1993. Many of the paper's veteran journalists and editorial staff were fired or left voluntarily.
Miroslav Kutle instituted an editorial policy which promoted hard-line nationalism, often in an even more explicit manner than that which appeared in other state-controlled media. This new policy was especially apparent during the coverage of the conflict between Croats and Bosniaks in neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina. The newspaper then saw a dramatic fall in circulation, which was due to in part to the fact that its regular readers were thoroughly disgusted by this new editorial direction. The generally poor state of the economy in war-torn Dalmatia was also considered a factor in the decline in readership.
After the war ended in 1995, Slobodna Dalmacija was faced with serious financial problems, many of which were attributed to Miroslav Kutle's mismanagement. In late 1990s, on the brink of financial ruin, the newspaper was again taken over by the government. However, it retained its distinctively hard-line nationalist stance, even during the first year of Prime Minister Ivica Račan's left-of-center government. This hard-line stance escalated in early 2001 during the mass rallies in support of Mirko Norac and the other Croatian generals who had been accused of war crimes. In February 2001, the Croatian government reluctantly established a new editorial staff.
- "Večernjak u minusu, Jutarnji i 24 sata u plusu". tportal.hr (in Croatian). 2 August 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- (Croatian) Official website