HND: Threats to Free Journalism Continue, Articles Disappearing

By 13 July 2022
HND: Threats to Free Journalism Continue, Articles Disappearing
Image: Digital Buggu/Pexels

ZAGREB, 13 July 2022 - The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Wednesday warned about new threats to free journalism, highlighting politicians' inappropriate communication with the media and the disappearance of released articles from the media.

Speaking at a press conference, HND president Hrvoje Zovko mentioned President Zoran Milanović's recent inappropriate statement about the Hanza Media company.

He also mentioned the "disappearance" of articles on MP Sandra Benčić's warning about a possible conflict of interest in private deals between the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) and the PPD gas supplier.

We are not investigators, but articles should not disappear from any media in Croatia, Zovko said. "We can't say where the threats are coming from and from which sources of power, but it is the job of the president and the prime minister, who have authority over the SOA, to deal with that."

Maja Sever, president of the European Federation of Journalists and the Croatian Journalists' Trade Union, said political pressure was continuing.

Articles have disappeared from several media, she said. "The PPD says it's not them. Who else is involved? The POA (Counter-intelligence Agency), the SOA, and some other organization?"

Sever said the union was working on strengthening of the legal protection of journalists, their jobs, and livelihoods, and that journalists' organizations were willing to help.

We must reinforce institutional protection, she said, adding that she would state Croatia's examples in talks with the European Commission on European media legislation.

Zovko welcomed Supreme Court president Radovan Dobronić's opening a debate on lawsuits against journalists, including those filed by judges.

For more, check out our politics section.