HND, HRT Disagree over Political Pressure on Public TV

By 20 April 2019

ZAGREB, April 20, 2019 - The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) agreed with the Reporters Without Borders' warning that Croatia's public TV (HRT) is under political pressure and that the government meddles in the editorial policy, while HRT said the public broadcaster "is independent of any political influence or pressure from promoters of commercial interests."

Croatia gained five places in the Reporters Without Borders' 2019 World Press Freedom Index, ranking 64th, but the organisation warns about political pressure on public TV, physical assaults on and intimidation of journalists on the Internet.

"Government meddling in... Croatian Radiotelevision continues to be a real problem... Interest groups try to influence its editorial policies and interfere in its internal operations" and the "HRT management is even suing employees who have complained about these problems," the organisation noted.

"The HND has for years been warning that Croatian Radiotelevision is one of the biggest problems on Croatia's media scene, because the public service should be a stronghold of free journalism and an institution which promotes pluralism, which it is not," HND president Hrvoje Zovko told Hina.

HRT's lawsuits against its employees, the HND and the media, are "a disgrace for Croatia and it's no surprise that in its latest index Reporters Without Borders underlines HRT as one of the main obstacles to press freedom," said Zovko.

"Generally, press freedom in Croatia is in danger and we believe the prime minister's approach to this problem is dangerous because he negates the existence of a problem everyone else sees," he added.

In a reply to Hina, HRT dismissed the Reporters Without Borders' warnings, saying it "is independent of any political influence or pressure from promoters of commercial interests." HRT said it was independent in its programming and editorial policies and that it fully complied with the HRT Act and its agreement with the government.

More news about media freedom in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.