Wednesday, 13 July 2022

HND: Threats to Free Journalism Continue, Articles Disappearing

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.

Monday, 15 November 2021

HND Says HRT Executive Sues Two of Its Vice-Presidents

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) on Monday warned that the head of the HRT public broadcaster's "Business operation" unit, Mislav Stipić, has filed a private slander lawsuit against two HND vice-presidents, thus continuing a string of lawsuits against reporters and HND leaders.

Stipić has sued HND vice-presidents Branko Mijić and Goran Gazdek over a statement published on 12 March under the title "Bačić's taking to court leading people of the HND and Croatian Trade Union new attack on media freedoms", the HND said in a statement.

The latest case continues the shameful string of lawsuits against reporters that have made Croatia recognizable in the EU as a country where power-wielders use lawsuits to square accounts with reporters and media, thus threatening journalistic and media freedoms, the HND says, noting that Croatia has been at the bottom of EU rankings with regard to respect for media freedoms.

HND president Hrvoje Zovko said this was yet another attack on the HND by Stipić but the HND would continue speaking and warning about the situation at the HRT as well as his role in it. 

Stipić resented allegations in the said statement that former HRT director Kazimir Bačić, dismissed over corruption charges, targeted anyone who had dared speak up publicly about serious accusations of sexual harassment and mobbing, made against Stipić by an HRT employee and corroborated by two other employees, which Bačić tried to cover up, the HND said.

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