MPs Debate Situation on HRT Public Broadcaster

By 21 February 2019

ZAGREB, February 21, 2019 - Thursday's parliamentary debate on the appointment of Antonija Petrušić to the supervisory board of the HRT public broadcaster turned into a debate on the HRT and lawsuits against journalists, with the opposition requesting quality public broadcasting and supporting 30 civil society organisations in their boycott of the HRT and a protest to protect journalism announced for March 2.

"We can't talk about the appointment of a member to the HRT supervisory board without saying what the situation there is like because the HRT management has been deliberately left without supervision to do as it pleases," said independent Bojan Glavašević.

Supporting the upcoming protest, he said the HRT was the worst public broadcaster in Europe in terms of independence. The HRT has such devastatingly low viewership that the Electronic Media Agency recently stopped measuring it.

The HRT does not fight for investigating journalism and programme quality, said Gordan Maras of the Social Democratic Party.

Boris Milošević of the Independent Democratic Serb Party said he had especially taken issue with "the promotion of a book on Jasenovac where not only the Holocaust was denied, but also that any crime had happened." Jasenovac was a WWII death camp in Croatia.

He recalled that the SDSS had expressed dissatisfaction a number of times with the share of ethnic minority programmes, the lack of personnel in charge of ethnic minority issues, and programmes in minority languages. "Only in Croatia do we have the public broadcaster suing its own journalists. We don't have that anywhere in Europe."

Ivan Pernar of Živi Zid called for boycotting the HRT and cancelling the licence fee, saying he was not paying it.

Miro Bulj of MOST said the HRT was carrying out Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's programme.

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