Wednesday, 6 October 2021

EFJ Annual Meeting 2021: Journalists' Issues to be Discussed in Zagreb

October 6, 2021 - The EFJ Annual Meeting 2021 comes to Zagreb to discuss European, local and global media freedom, as well as journalists' safety. Established on December 18, 1910, The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) is one of the oldest professional associations in modern Croatia.

As expected, it is older than the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) that was established in 1994, but then again, as expected, the EFJ (being multinational) holds a much stronger position when addressing the typical troubles journalists face.

The two associations collaborate really well, as is evident in EFJ's support to HND in condemning Croatian PM Andrej Plenković who is also the president of the right-centre Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). As TCN informed in June, Plenković attacked the press, accusing them of being paid to vilify and smear HDZ candidates.

After the event being postponed in May 2020, both HND and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (SNH) will host the EFJ annual meeting in Zagreb on October 8-9. This year's edition of the meeting will go with a theme titled ''Better Protecting Journalists''.

''The topics include enhancing the protection of journalists across Europe, pressures on media in the region, the prosecution of journalists and journalist associations in Belarus, and rescuing journalists from Afghanistan. The two-day assembly will be held at the Journalists' Home and gather over one hundred respected journalists, the president of the journalists' organisation and syndicates from all over Europe, as well as distinguished guests,'' says HND on its website.

The open part of the assembly will have two panels.

The first one, entitled ''Pressures on journalists and media in the region'' is where the Journalist Security Index will be presented. The Index has four categories: the legal and administrative frame and context of journalistic work, attack preventions, investigations and legal actions taken against journalists and procedures in case of an attack on a journalist.

It will be interesting to see the newest results because, as TCN wrote earlier, while media liberties deteriorate in the rest of the world, Croatia actually saw quite some progress.

The second open panel is a round table entitled ''Journalism in the time of polarisation''.

''The opening remarks to the representatives of the press association will be given by Croatian President Zoran Milanović, Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek (who will also do so on behalf of Croatian PM Andrej Plenković), and IFJ President Mogens Blicher. SNH President Maja Sever, HND President Hrvoje Zovko and President of the Belarus Journalists' Association Andrei Bastunets, will all also be present,'' announced HND.

When it comes to Croatia, as TCN wrote, the main issue in this regard is currently lawsuits, particularly SLAPP lawsuits, which are ''strategic'' lawsuits (meaning they're unfounded or exaggerated) and aimed at intimidating and silencing those who ask questions of public interest.

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

For more about the Croatian Journalists' Association, follow TCN's dedicated page

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.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

New Application Report It! for Threats Against Journalists

September 20, 2020 - Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) has launched a  new application Report it! campaign to create awareness and encourage everyone to get involved in documenting and reporting the many violations of journalists and media workers' rights across Europe.

Such violations, abuses, and aggressions have become so common that they are almost accepted as “normal” and that is wrong, reports the Croatian Journalists' Union. Through this campaign, the MFRR insists that such behavior should not be normalized or accepted as the price of journalistic work. Threats and violations of the rights of media workers are wrong and should not be tolerated. Instead, they should be reported.

The Media Freedom Mapping platform is a place to report every threat, including everything from physical attacks requiring hospital treatment, arrests, and detention, malicious legal actions, harassment and defamation campaigns, to attempted censorship, banning journalists from reporting or passing laws restricting media freedom.

All these violations need to be reported: All you need is an internet connection. By entering data, the MFRD team can offer direct support to affected media workers. It will also help us understand the threats to press and media freedom more clearly in Europe.

How to report it?

All you need to do is go to the website and fill out the form.

Since the beginning of 2020, the Mapping Media Freedom platform has received 241 reports from 30 countries, including attempts by Greek police to prevent journalists from talking to refugees and asylum seekers after the Moria campfire, attacks on journalists during anti-government protests in Sofia, denial of broadcasting licenses to independent media, such as Klubrádió in Hungary, or the online misogynistic harassment of female journalists in countries such as the United Kingdom, North Macedonia, and Belgium.

Each application ensures that journalists and media workers do not have to suffer in silence. To effectively support journalists across Europe, we need everyone’s help to ensure that every offense is reported to Mapping Media Freedom.

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