Tuesday, 21 January 2020

HND Leave Task Force for Electronic Media Act

ZAGREB, January 21, 2020 - The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) said on Monday that it had walked out of a Culture Ministry task force in charge of drawing up a new law on electronic media because the ministry did not include any of the HND's proposals in the document.

The HND says that it had submitted a document with its proposals to the ministry on August 26, 2019 after on July 26 working material for the future law was made available to it.

The association says that it wants to remind the public of this fact in light of Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek's repeated statements about the HND "stating falsely that its proposals were not accepted. Those that could be accepted were accepted."

"Statements like this one are designed to create the impression that the HND left the ministry's task force without a real reason. That is why we are repeating: The Culture Ministry did not accept any of the HND's proposals to the working text of the Electronic Media Act, including one on the need to depoliticise the Electronic Media Council. The HND joined the task force responsibly, in good faith and with the best of intentions, expecting that we share the same goal of upgrading the media in Croatia and their democratic function," HND president Hrvoje Zovko said on behalf of the HND Executive Board.

HND representatives said that they had joined the task force bearing in mind the HND's mission to protect journalism as a public good, protect the public interest and promote the public's right to fair, correct and complete information.

"Aware of this role of ours in society, we will join in public consultation on the electronic media bill, the minister doesn't need to remind us of that," Zovko said.

More news about the status of journalists in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Journalists “Raise” Money to Help President Travel to Croatia's Match against England

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović attended the recent football match between Croatia and Spain in Zagreb. Croatia scored in the last moments of the game, winning the match against the Spaniards, and the president was in a great mood after the game, reports Index.hr on November 18, 2018.

“It was a lot of stress, but I told you we would win. I congratulate all the players and manager Dalić. It was a good match and the outcome was uncertain until the very end,” said the president.

She watched the match among the fans. “Congratulations to all the supporters, they were great today,” said Grabar-Kitarović, adding that she was sitting next to the family of Jean Michael Nicolier, a Frenchman who died during the Homeland War while defending Vukovar.

On Sunday, Croatia will play the decisive match in the UEFA Nations League against England in London. The president said she would like to go, but was not sure whether she would have enough money.

“I do not know whether I will manage. The match is decisive, but I will attend the finals of the Davis Cup tennis competition, so I am not sure whether I will have financial resources to go to Wembley this year too,” the president told reporters.

Journalists writing for Index.hr, Croatia’s most popular news website, have decided to help the president travel to London. While it is not a secret that Index.hr is not a great supporter of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the journalists decided not to allow mere poverty to prevent the president from enjoying the football match.

The journalists searched their pockets and wallets and found 40 euro needed to pay for a flight to London. However, the flight is from Salzburg, Austria, since flights from Zagreb are terribly expensive. But when you do not have a lot of money, you cannot be too choosy. Index.hr says it would be best if the president were to collect the tickets this morning at its offices. The journalists will even drive the president to Salzburg, and in London, she will certainly be provided with a seat in the stadium’s main box.

As for spending the night in London, Index has a couple of friends in London where she can sleep.

Unfortunately, it is just a one-way ticket. Index says that, if the president really has to come back, perhaps some of her supporters might foot the bill.

For more on Croatia's president, click here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

NGOs Warn State Remains Silent about Pressures on Journalists

ZAGREB, November 6, 2018 - The presidents of the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) and the Croatian Journalists' Union (SNH), Hrvoje Zovko and Anton Filić respectively, sharply condemned on Monday the latest pressures on HND and reporters, stressing that the main problem was the state's silence about the increasingly frequent threats and pressures on reporters as well as about the increasing devastation of the media scene.

"The main problem is the silence of the state, which is allowing all this to occur because, since entering the European Union, the state has not shown any interest in the status of reporters and their profession. Silence to the many threats, and we have recorded about fifty threats and attacks on journalists, makes the state complicit in the entire story," Zovko underscored.

He added that in many cases reporters are being persecuted "because attackers and those threatening reporters are not being punished," and that the HND would alarm its international partners and the international public of the situation.

Zovko commented on a recent court decision in an almost 25-year-long dispute under which the HND is obliged to pay about 350,000 euro to cover the debts of a defunct company. "This is about, to put it mildly, an unusual suit by an unusual creditor and the inefficiency of Croatia's judiciary, with the HND at the receiving end. We will use all legal means available to come out of this situation because HND's collapse in a situation in which our profession is devastated would be a disastrous message," Zovko said and underscored that this enforcement notice is a form of pressure on HND and the media scene.

He assessed the situation in the media to be disastrous, underscoring that the HRT public broadcaster is not fulfilling its function and its programme is deteriorating, along with threats of dismissing reporters and "all those who think differently." He added that the situation in private media companies isn't much better, noting that some print media "use the services of PR agencies to promote political groups and neglect public interest."

Filić said that it was worrying that attacks and threats against journalists were going unpunished, which shows that attackers have "protection by some mob, the judiciary or some politicians." He underscored that material pressure is also being exerted through non-existing collective agreements, deteriorating material rights for journalists and pressure on shop stewards.

HND secretary-general Ema Tarabochia said the "systematic problem is that prosecutors and the police do not conduct sufficiently thorough investigations and cases lie at the bottom of someone's drawer for years."

Vojislav Mazzoco, who writes for the Index portal, spoke about the threats he received and reported to the authorities, including from War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, who recently apologised via his attorney. "Tomo Medved isn't the problem but the hyenas who, after his threats, declared open season on me," he said, referring to "various obscure papers, media and portals."

As a positive example, he mentioned a recent sentence pending appeal against a person who had threatened him and was given six months in prison, with two years' probation. "Maybe that's because we are making a racket and the judiciary has decided to react a little better," Mazzoco concluded.

To read more about the position of journalists in Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Journalists Worried about Lack of Condemnation of Attacks on Colleagues

ZAGREB, September 4, 2018 - The head of the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND), Hrvoje Zovko has drawn attention to the worrying absence of condemnations by senior state officials of attacks and threats against journalists.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Blacklist Of Croatia’s Foreign ‘Journalists’ Spreads On Social Media

July 26, 2018 — Nationalist social media users have started spreading a list of a dozen “journalists and commentators” allegedly discrediting the country via foreign media outlets.

No, TCN didn’t make the list.