Thursday, 16 September 2021

HND Demands Protection for Reporters Covering Anti-Maskers' Protest

ZAGREB, 16 Sept 2021 - The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) on Thursday condemned threats against reporters covering an anti-maskers' protest outside a school in Krapinske Toplice, calling for promptly "putting an end to the violence that threatens to turn into a lynching campaign" and for protecting journalists.

The HND said the violence outside the primary school in Krapinske Toplice jeopardized primarily students and teachers and that it was escalating into threats against reporters who were doing their job professionally.

"We condemn threats against our colleague Ivan Kovačić, who was the first to report about the situation in Krapinske Toplice, where protesters have been rallying in support of a father who does not want his son to wear a mask in school," the HND said, noting that Kovačić had been targeted for days on social networks where his name and phone number had been made public, with calls to contact and harass him.

The HND seeks protection for the school children, school staff, and reporters covering the developments in Krapinske Toplice.

"We ask the police to respond as they responded in cases when politicians and office-holders were exposed to much more benign threats, we ask the prosecutorial authorities to prosecute ex-officio perpetrators of such offenses and we expect courts to rule promptly in order to prevent future violence as a method of resolving social conflicts," the HND said.

It also condemned the conduct of the Zagreb-based Z1 television, whose editors and reporters it said were uncritically supporting one side, actively preventing students from entering the school and threatening its principal as well as staying on the school premises without permission for days.

The HND said it also expected a comment from the Culture and Media Minister and the Electronic Media Council.

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Monday, 13 September 2021

About 10 Anti-maskers Outside Krapinske Toplice School

ZAGREB, 13 Sept 2021 - Several protesters gathered outside Krapinske Toplice Primary School on Monday morning to support a parent who does not want his child to wear a protective mask while attending classes, and also an expert team is expected to arrive to provide psychological assistance at the site.

The pupil concerned on Monday again came to school without a protective mask and was denied access to the school building.

The first protest of this kind was held on Friday when about 20 people rallied because that boy, who refuses to wear a face mask, had been banned from entering the school. The protest was organized by the boy's father, who says a mask makes it difficult for his son to breathe and that the school does not allow him to use common areas without it. In that way, he said, his son is being denied the right to an education.

Education Minister Radovan Fuchs is also expected to visit the school today.

The school's headmaster, Samson Štibohar, said today that they had asked the parents to obtain from doctors the medical explanation that the child should be exempt from the mask-wearing rule on medical conditions.

I find all this escalation unnecessary, the headmaster explained.

On Friday he said that children's health and safety came first and that the protest was the result of one parent's refusal to comply with the measures, protocols, and decisions under which headmasters had to create work guidelines for the new school year.

"The problem is that the pupil and his parent refuse that he wears a mask in the hall and the toilet and when entering and leaving school, which takes maybe two minutes," he said, adding that he saw nothing positive in the protest.

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