Jelena Lovrić

Jelena Lovrić was born in 1948 in Lukovac (Bosnia and Herzegovina). After graduating from Tuzla high school, she enrolled in the Faculty of Philosophy of Zagreb University (Yugoslav Studies and Comparative Literature). From the early 1970s she worked in newspapers and magazines such as Vjesnik, VUS, and Start. She wrote for the political weekly Danas from its first issue in 1982 to its last, in 1992. After Danas she wrote briefly for Slobodna Dalmacija. She was one of the founders of Feral Tribune and the shortlived magazine Pečat. As of 1994 she wrote for Novi List, thanks to the courage of the editors. She contributed to various foreign media. Her longest affiliation was with French international radio and Radio Free Europe.

All those years, marrying remarkable journalist talent to an exacting ethical standard in her articles she reached the heights of professional journalistic standards.

Now she writes a column in the weekly Globus and the Jutarnji List newspaper.

The Duško Kondor Award for Affirmation of Civil Courage is being given to Jelena Lovrić of Zagreb because, although fully cognizant of the risk she was undertaking, she affirmed civil courage, over many years, from the early 1980s, by the following:

  • Fully aware that she was embarking on serious conflict with the reigning political ideology and monopolistic groups, she experienced all the drama that the weekly Danas went through. She is the author of articles which sent the weekly in its first years on a collision course with the party oligarchy. The weekly was punished by the removal of many of the editors and harassment of the journalists, until 1992 when the paper was finished politically. The Tuđman government forced out the team of editors and journalists and turned the weekly over to its henchmen.
  • Fearlessly she demonstrated her refusal to bow to the dictate of those in power, regardless of which side they were on, during the movement known as the „happening of the people“ in Serbia, when Danas, the weekly, and she, as its leading writer, in what was otherwise a silent Croatia, reported on those remarkable times.
  • Without regard for the repercussions, she was the first to provide a critical analysis of the rise of Slobodan Milošević, which resulted in a vicious assault against her by part of the Belgrade media.
  • Because of her principled and consistent opposition to the language and practice of domination, she became a persona non grata in Tuđman's Croatia and was left without a job, publicly defamed. She was dogged by the state attorney and harangued by the pro-regime media. This reached its peak with the article “The Witches of Rio” in Globus, in which she, with several other women writers, were literally accused of “raping Croatia.”
  • She has shown her commitment to ethical and professional standards by quitting Slobodna Dalmacija with a group of other journalists after the paper was bought out in a scandalous way. She was one of the founders of Feral Tribune and shortlived Pečat.
  • She has been inspiring young journalists for decades throughout the former Yugoslavia. By example she has been affirming civil courage, proving with countless articles on searing topics that even in the most difficult moments of war, crime, and hatred, a journalist can uphold the integrity and dignity of the profession.
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