Kusturica tapped for pubcaster board

Dispatch - Bosnia & Hersegovina

BUDAPEST — One of Europe’s most respected auteurs, Emir Kusturica, has been appointed to the board of state network Radio Television Serbia (RTS) by the fledgling government led by Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.

Serbian Academy of Arts & Sciences member Niksa Stipcevic was tapped chairman of the new board in a directorship shuffle that could change the direction of state broadcasting in this part of the former Yugoslavia.

Analysts speculate that Kostunica dismissed the network’s previous board to rid RTS of appointees from the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) government that had forged state TV policy since fall 2000, when DOS overthrew Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic.

Because RTS had been a power base for the Milosevic regime, DOS and its then-prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, rapidly purged the network of the old regime and remade state broadcasting in its image.

Kostunica was a leader of the DOS movement in 2000 but fell out with Djindjic and languished on the outskirts of Serbian politics until Djindjic’s assassination last year.

Kostunica is believed to be trying to create a pro-government state TV board that will allow RTS to be a mouthpiece for pro-Serbian and nationalist agenda.

Bosnian-born Kusturica has a reputation for supporting Serbian nationalist parties.

— John Nadler