Croatian parliament in turmoil over YouTube (again!?)

On May 25th 2007, Social Democratic Party – major opposition party walked out of Croatian parliament. They walked out because they were accused by interior minister mr. Ivica Kirin as authors of series of youtube video clips. This video clips are wildly popular and they Jubito motive used on parliament members t-shirtwere seen (as of today) by more then 600.000 Croatian citizens (compared to 4.5 million of total population and 1 million internet users in Croatia). This clips generated hundreds of newspaper articles, they were subject of number of political TV and radio shows.

Summary about this (in english) you can read on my blog here: “Ivica Kirin, Croatian story“, read my report on BoingBoing, or see latest Reuters report, or Associated Press, International Herald Tribune.

Main reason why SDP walked out is not only because they were accused of creating this clips, but because interior minister claimed that he discovered this by “following the trail of (internet) servers”. This basically means that police were used in order to monitor and track people who upload satirical content on youtube (which is btw. renamed by our minister to “jubito” probably in attempt to rename YouTube to particular and extremly graphical curse which I do not intend to translate), and therefore this is serious violation of our citizen rights and potential clear abuse of power.

Our interior minister later on denied that he ever made this claim, regardless of two journalists who were present while he actually made the statement.

(It is to be said that what he described does not seem technicaly plausible, but nevertheless, person of his position should not allow himself to make such statements)

Today, new session of Croatian parliament started, and SDP representatives walked in wearing white t-shirts with stylized YouTube logo in sniper crosshairs, and they demanded interior minister resignation as well as formation of investigating comitee which will find out if there were abuse of power, and if not, why minister lied.

In the meantime, merely ten days after election of mr. Zoran Milanović as new SDP leader, videos featuring Zoran Milanović showed up on youtube as well. This videos are interchanging images from our Yugoslavian communistic past as well as his responses during TV interview where he mentioned few times “I do not know”, “I have no idea”.

Internet and specially video content is proving to be major tool in campaign for new parliament assembly due to be elected in November this year.

Videos mocking interior minister mr. Ivica Kirin can be seen on “bijesprvi” youtube channel. There is also a song about Ivica Kirin (with english subtitles).

Thought of the day:
‘They can ta’k our lives but they can never ta’k our freedom!’ Now there’s a battle cry not designed by a clear thinker…

Politika Video

Ivica Kirin, Croatian story

For all of you BoingBoing readers here is short summary of what has happened. Please note that this whole thing is unfolding since our minister was appointed just over a year ago. If you need some additional info, contact me at mracni (dot) blog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Most likely the best-known Minister of Sanader’s Government, Ivica Kirin (Ministry of Interior, MUP), after his numerous blunders which resulted in few jubito works on popular internet video service YouTube, was forbidden to give any public statements, published Feral Tribune, on 3 May. Later on, on 13 May, those allegations resulted with an article in Jutarnji list which coincided with the latest video work on hushing Ivica Kirin.

Ivica Kirin, Croatian minister of interior

In spite of the disclaimer of the Government and MUP, the fact is that Kirin has made rare public speaking appearances over the last few weeks.

If he actually shows up in the media, it is mainly about protocol obligations like commemorations and contract executions whereas the media space is left short from Kirin’s appearances on radio and TV debates. However, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Zlatko Mehun, has stuck to MUP’s official denial and described Kirin’s disappearance as new communication strategy of MUP.

On the possibility of connection between Kirin’s reduced media appearances and Jubito (as YouTube was mispronounced by Kirin), the Government’s spokesperson, Ratko Maček determinedly rejected those speculations but claimed that Kirin should be more careful in his public statements.

Evidently, banned media appearances are nowhere to be seen in the world, but are possible in Croatia.

Yesterday, during the last day of joint NATO excercise IDASSA 2007, minister Kirin stated that: “It was fun to watch in the beginning because I though this videos were made by young rebels and alternatives, and then we have discovered thru the servers that this videos are published by our political rivals from SDP (Social Democratic Party). Let them be sure that this is nothing compared to what we are going to show during our forthcoming campaign”.

Ivica Kirin - dumb or dumber?

Today, SDP representatives in Croatian parliament demanded that minister come to the parliament and explain his words, and after their motion was denied they have left the parliament.

In the meantime, ministry of interior as well as mr. Kirin himslef has made a statement claiming that this were not his words regardless of the fact that he was talking to a bunch of journalists who were also present.

It should be also mentioned that his mispronunciation of the “youtube” into “jubito” has created a whole new industry in croatia, so you now have web sites called jubito (net, com, info, org), as well as a whole line of apparel and fashion accessories (see cafepress).

The whole Kiro prosviro serial can be viewed on YouTube under these links:

“Kiro prosviro” – Kiro went nuts

“Kiro prosviro 2 – povratak kralja” – Return of the king

“Kiro prosviro3 – jubito” – Spy who loved me

Who silenced Ivica Kirin – MasterMind

Thought of the day:
Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of ruling party. But I repeat myself.