Monday, 4 October 2021

HND Says HRK 6.2m Claim for Damages Against News Portal Scandalous

ZAGREB, 4 Oct 2021 - The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) on Monday described as scandalous businessman Josip Stojanović Jolly's lawsuit against the news portals Telegram.hr, Šibenik In, Šibenik News, and Šibenski Portal, in which he seeks HRK 6.2 million in damages from them for causing damage to his reputation.

"This is an unprecedented financial attack on the media in Croatia and it seems to be an introduction into a new series of lawsuits against media outlets, aimed at intimidating and destroying them," HND president Hrvoje Zovko told a news conference.

He noted that the claim for damages ensued after an article that was based on a non-final court verdict against the businessman, published by Telegram.hr and carried by the Šibenik-based news portals. Stojanović sued Telegram.hr, seeking HRK 2.3 million in damages, and the three news portals from Šibenik, seeking another 3.9 million in damages.

HND calls on Stojanović to drop his "crazy and scandalous claim"

Zovko said that the HND had notified the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) about the case, calling on Stojanović to drop "this crazy and scandalous claim."

He said that the case was a kind of introduction into a debate about strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) against reporters and media, to be held at an EFJ conference to take place in Zagreb at the end of the week.

Minister should react

Zovko recalled that the Ministry of Culture and Media recently set up a task force to provide expert advice in shaping a policy against SLAPP suits and that the last case was a sort of test of the competent institutions' determination to combat SLAPP suits.

He called on Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek to comment on the latest case, stressing that claims for damages against media outlets and reporters had become a competition to see who would sue reporters more and who would seek higher damages, with the initial amounts being ten, twenty, thirty and a hundred thousand kuna and the latest case amounting to more than six million.

Telegram.hr editor Jelena Valentić said that the article in question, in which the non-final ruling against Stojanović was carried and which was made in line with professional rules, was followed by the businessman's lawsuit in which he sued the portal for causing damage to his reputation and for loss of profit, estimated at some two million kuna.

Valentić said that this was just one in a number of claims for damages against Telegram.hr, noting that it put huge pressure on journalists.

"This is intimidation, aimed at preventing us from doing our job," she said, an assessment supported by Šibenski Portal editor Ksenija Bilan, who recalled numerous cases when local power players tried to exert influence on local media outlets.

(€1 = HRK 7.488172)

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Croatian Journalist Silvije Tomašević, 71, Dies

ZAGREB, 18 July, 2021 - Croatian journalist and long-standing Rome and Vatican correspondent Silvije Tomašević, 71, has died from a grave illness, the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) reported on Sunday.

Tomašević, born in Zagreb on 6 November 1949, started his journalistic career in 1970 in the Večernji List daily. He worked for the print and electronic media. He was a correspondent from Italy for many media outlets in Croatia, including the Croatian national news agency Hina.

Tomašević also collaborated with the BBC and the Deutsche Welle.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) Joins in Condemning PM Plenković's Statements

ZAGREB, 1 June, 2021 - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined the Croatian Journalists Association (HND) and the Croatian Journalists Union (SNH) in condemning Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's verbal attacks on media and reporters after the local runoff election on 30 May.

The HND said on its website that EFJ Secretary-General Ricardo Gutiérrez described as "totally unacceptable that journalists are being attacked by both the Prime Minister and, just recently, the President of Croatia."

"Blaming journalists in this way is an attempt to undermine their credibility in order to limit their role as a counterweight. To insult or threaten journalists is to insult and threaten citizens, and to undermine the right of citizens to access free, independent information," the HND quoted Gutiérrez as saying.

The EFJ said on its website that shortly after the second round of local elections in Croatia, Plenković once again attacked the media, accusing them of "being paid to vilify a political camp" and accusing Dražen Lalić, an analyst and professor at the Zagreb Faculty of Political Science, of being paid by broadcasters to smear HDZ candidates, targeting also HND president Hrvoje Zovko, who strongly condemned his attack on the media.

The EFJ carried a statement issued on Monday by the HND and SNH in which the two organisations deplored "the open threats PM Plenkovic has made against all our colleagues and media which do not follow his and the HDZ's ideology.

"To name all those who critically speak about candidates ahead of elections and to mark as targets 'those who calumniate people for money' is not the kind of discourse that should be used by politicians, let alone prime ministers of civilised and democratic EU countries," the two organisations said in the statement carried by the EFJ.

The EFJ also quoted the HND and SNH as saying that such attacks only show Plenković and his HDZ party's ambition "to completely control the public sphere and determine the limits of media freedoms in Croatia".

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Žarko Puhovski: "Is PM Plenković's Attack on Lalić More Significant Than President Milanović's On Me"?

ZAGREB, 1 June, 2021 - Professor and political analyst Žarko Puhovski said on Monday that he was shocked by the statement signed by the Croatian Journalists' Union (SNH) and the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND), wondering if Plenković's attack on analyst Dražen Lalić was more significant than Milanović's on him.

"Is it really possible that (Prime Minister) Plenković's scandalous attack on Lalić is so much more significant than (President) Zoran Milanović's much dirtier continuous attacks on me in the past months, and in the former case you reacted in the blink of an eye, while in the latter not at all?" asked Puhovski in an open letter, adding that despite his years and experience, he is truly shocked by the statement the SNH co-signed today.

"I don't know if it's about likes/dislikes, ideology, stupidity or rudeness, but I didn't expect that from you at least," Puhovski told the SNH.

The HND and the SNH said earlier on Monday that they strongly condemned PM Andrej Plenković's attack on the media, interference in the editorial policy of commercial broadcasters RTL, Nova TV and N1 and criticism of the reporters and pundits covering campaigns in the run-up to the recent local election and the elections.

PM Andrej Plenković then said HND president Hrvoje Zovko's statement was "rude and inappropriate" and said he was "much quieter, slower and more evasive when it comes to criticising Milanović".

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek: Concept of HRT Management Inaugurated During Zoran Milanović's Premiership

ZAGREB, 7 May (Hina) - Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Friday that she was shocked by President Zoran Milanović's attack on the HRT public broadcaster, adding that she had always stood up for press freedom.

"The government has no ambition whatsoever to influence any media outlet in Croatia. Quite the contrary, I believe that we strengthen democracy and all the values in society if we try to ensure conditions for reporters to do their job professionally and without any pressure," Obuljen Koržinek said after a ceremony of opening a library in the town of Delnice.

She condemned Milanović's statements in which he attacked an HRT correspondent in Split, refusing to answer her questions and saying that the HRT was not a public broadcaster but was serving the interests of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

"I think that Milanović is the last person who can call out anybody," Obuljen Koržinek said, stressing that the concept and legislative framework for the HRT management had been inaugurated during his term as prime minister.

She went on to say that in her capacity as the minister of culture and media, she had always stood up for the autonomy of the media, notably reporters.

Union leader: Milanović attacks journalists who are not responsible for HRT's policy

Croatian Journalists' Union leader and HRT reporter Maja Sever said on Thursday that the reporters whom Milanović verbally attacked earlier in the day were not responsible for the public broadcaster's editorial policy and that he was among those who had failed to ensure HRT's autonomy. 

Also on Thursday, the Journalists' Union and the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) branch at the HRT condemned Milanović's statements, but also noted that the HRT under current director Kazimir Bačić was not an independent public service and that the government led by PM Andrej Plenković was responsible for that.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

 

Friday, 16 April 2021

The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND): "At Least 924 Law Actions Against Reporters and Media Outlets Currently Active"

ZAGREB, 16 April, 2021 - The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Friday presented the results of its latest survey showing that there are currently at least 924 lawsuits against the media and reporters in Croatia with plaintiffs seeking HRK 78.5 million in damages.

The real number of lawsuits may be even greater because the data collected refers to only 23 media outlets, HND president Hrvoje Zovko said at a news conference in Zagreb.

The HND says on its website that "same as last year, Hanza Media has the highest number of lawsuits, 479 of them, with the average indemnity demands of 13,333 euro per lawsuit. Styria follows them with 203 lawsuits – the amounts of indemnity requests made to them result to almost € 2.7 million. In active litigation, the amount of claims ranges from several thousand kunas to even more than one million kunas, while the longest active litigation is currently in its 12th year." 

The HND will continue to warn the local and international public about that problem, said Zovko and called on all reporters for solidarity in the fight against that kind of intimidation.

HND secretary-general Ema Tarabochia reported that in February last year there were 905 law actions against media outlets and journalists . Even though this year's number is insignificantly higher, it is particularly concerning that such a number of active cases exists in any case, she said.

"Out of the total number of 924 lawsuits, 892 refer to civil actions against publishers, their editors and journalists, for compensation of damages due to violations of honor and reputation based on published texts and articles, while the remaining number of 32 lawsuits refers to currently active criminal proceedings. Among prosecutors, apart from natural persons unknown to the general public, the most prominent are persons from public and political life, followed by legal entities, politicians in power, even judges themselves," says the HND on its website.

Three active disputes against HND

The HRT national broadcaster has a lawsuit against Zovko seeking compensation of HRK 250,000 and HRK 200,000 from HND. In that same legal action HRT is seeking HRK 50,000 in damages from HTV reporters Sanja Mikleušević Pavić.

As HND said, this is a unique case where a public media service is suing one of its own employees but also a reporters' professional association.

Government should conduct education to prevent lawsuits occurring

Laywer and member of the European Commission expert group for SLAPP suits, Vanja Jurić said today that the government should conduct education for politicians, lawyers and judges in preventing lawsuits against reporters and the media and to have them realise that they need to be prepared to accept criticism.

She in particular warned of the danger of the Strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP).

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Reporters One of Priority Groups for Vaccination

ZAGREB, 13 April, 2021 - The Culture and Media Ministry has suggested including reporters and media workers in priority groups for vaccination against COVID-19 due to the risk of infection being higher than for the rest of the population, the Croatian Journalists Association (HND) said on Tuesday.

According to a notification from the ministry, reporters can express interest in being put on the list of priority vaccinations.

The HND will be collecting data from interested reporters until midnight 14 April, the association said, noting that expression of interest will in no way affect interest in vaccination expressed previously with one's family doctor or via the cijepise.zdravlje.hr platform. Previous registration for vaccination should not be cancelled until the moment an invitation to vaccination arrives from the Croatian Public Health Institute, the HND said.

For more about vaccination in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Ministry of Culture and Media: "We Condemn All Violence, Clearer Procedures Needed"

ZAGREB, 10 March, 2021 - The Ministry of Culture and Media said, commenting of the dismissal of HRT reporter Hrvoje Zovko, that it condemned all forms of violence and abuse and advocated clearer procedures and equal treatment in all cases of suspected violence, adding that everyone must have the right to present a defence.

"The Ministry of Culture and Media condems all forms of violence and abuse. We think that every accusation must be investigated and sanctioned should it be substantiated in accordance with legal regulations. We advocate clearer procedures and equal treatment in all cases of suspected violence in the case at the HRT and in all other institutions," the Ministry said on Tuesday in response to HINA's query about the dismissal of Hrvoje Zovko, an employee of the HRT national broadcaster and the president of the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND).

At the same time, respecting the presumption of innocence, we stress that everyone must have an equal right to express and present their defence, the Ministry added.

They noted that they had been informed about the details of the procedure in the case of Hrvoje Zovko's dismissal from the media and once again underscore "the importance of equal treatment of all employees".

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Croatian Journalists' Association Awarded Best Journalists of 2019

December 19, 2020 – By the decision of the Croatian Journalists' Association's members, the journalist of the year for 2019 is Đurđica Klancir of the net.hr portal. The Otokar Keršovani Lifetime Achievement Award was posthumously awarded to Mladen Kušec, the Croatian Radio and Television journalist and editor.

As the Croatian Journalists' Association reports, on their 110th birthday, journalistic awards were given for the best works published in 2019. The awards were presented in nine categories, and eight journalists were awarded.

With 194 votes, journalist Đurđica Klancir from the net.hr portal was named a journalist of the year for 2019.

"In my thirty years of journalism, I went through a lot from a novice journalist to the editor-in-chief in several newsrooms. I have been fired several times for advocating for true journalism. I must say that sometimes it is difficult to find an editorial office that would accept journalists with a firm, clear, and honest attitude. Therefore, I thank my editorial staff net.hr and its editor-in-chief who allowed me to start again as an ordinary journalist and to show that knowledge and skills cannot be lost," said Klancir. She added that we should be brave and not become shadows but fair and honest journalists.

Andrej Dimitrijevic from Telegram, who received 162 votes, and 24sata journalist Ivan Pandzic with 133 votes, were also nominated. In total, 118 journalists competed, while 506 journalists voted, and 27 ballots were invalid.

The Otokar Keršovani Lifetime Achievement Award was posthumously awarded to Mladen Kušec, journalist and editor from HRT, who died last month. His son Goran received his award. Mladen Kušec was an exceptional individual who, in his journalistic career of more than half a century, has almost imperceptibly preserved all the features of "eternal" journalism – one that is curious, that notices, that researches, deepen,s and refines.

Croatian Journalists' Association awarded more Croatian journalists:

Marija Jurić Zagorka Award for Written Journalism – Goran Gerovac, editor and columnist at Večernji list

Marija Jurić Zagorka Award for Radio Journalism – Mirjana Radulović, journalist at non-profit radio community Radio Rojc, Pula

Marija Jurić Zagorka Award for Television Journalism – Silvana Menđušić, RTL Television

Award for cinematography Žarko Kaić – Zoran Marinović, cameraman and reporter of Nova TV

Marija Jurić Zagorka Award for Internet Journalism and Jasna Babić Award for Investigative Journalism – Andrej Dimitrijević, journalist at Telegram

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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