SDP Joins Boycott of Croatian Radio Television

By 24 February 2019

ZAGREB, February 24, 2019 - The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has joined the two-week boycott of the Croatian Radio Television public broadcaster, launched by NGOs in a show of support for journalists and media outlets that have been sued by the public broadcaster, the SDP said in a press release Sunday.

The SDP will not appear on or give statements for HRT in show of support to journalists and the media, the press release said.

Thirty civil society organisations earlier this month said they would boycott the HRT until March 2, for when a protest rally of journalists has been scheduled, in a show of support for journalists and media outlets that have been sued by the public broadcaster.

They said in a letter that the purpose of their boycott is to draw attention to the absurdity of the situation in which a public broadcasting service is suing media outlets and journalists over their reporting on how public money is being spent, thus undermining freedom of the press in Croatia through intimidation and pressure.

The HRT has so far filed at least 36 lawsuits against media outlets and journalists, seeking 2.3 million kuna (311,000 euro) in damages.

Rather than with lawsuits and pressure, a public media service should protect its reputation and independence by supporting journalists, improving the quality of its programming and management, and with other activities aimed at protecting and not undermining freedom of the press, the letter said.

The letter said the official position of the European Federation of Journalists is that the HRT is the worst public service in Europe in terms of independence, adding that filing lawsuits is a problematic way of spending taxpayers' money and an unprecedented practice of a public broadcaster in Europe.

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