Wednesday, 16 March 2022

HRT Television Channels Get New Editor-In-Chief

ZAGREB, 16 March 2022 - HRT director-general Robert Šveb on Wednesday decided to appoint Rahela Štefanović the editor-in-chief of the national broadcaster's television channels HTV1, HTV2, HTV3, HTV4 and its international channel.

Štefanović's appointment followed after 79.78% of the editors, journalists and photo-journalists of the HRT who participated in a non-binding advisory vote supported her nomination.

There are 1,356 journalists and staffers eligible to take part in this kind of vote, and 178 or 13.13% participated in it.

Štefanović will succeed Bruno Kovačević on 21 March.

 

Business: For more, check out our business 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.

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

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

HRT National Broadcaster to Air Series About NDH

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - "NDH", a series of the Croatian Radio Television (HRT) about the Ustasha-ruled Independent State of Croatia, will start on Monday, 20 September and its author, historian Hrvoje Klasić, says it should have been aired much sooner, while the HRT rejects claims about deliberately not broadcasting the series.

"I only know that this series should have been finished much sooner. But it hasn't been. And that was not because of us as the crew, and it should have aired sooner. Again, not because of us, but because of the HRT," Klasić told Hina.

On the other hand, the public broadcaster's acting Director-General, Renato Kunić, said that no show had been deliberately not aired during his term as the director of programming and during his colleagues' terms.

He added that the NDH series was put on hold for several reasons. More specifically, an adequate schedule had to be found for the 12 episodes because that is three months of airing, and the programme budget has its rules, Kunić said.

He also said that the series cost about HRK 1.5 million and that the difference between the six episodes initially proposed by Klasić and the 12 realised episodes was about half a million kuna, and he stressed that this was a matter of assessment when to air the programme and not a ban, adding that the series was finished in June 2020.

Both Klasić and the HRT agreed that this was a long-awaited project in which about 30 members of the academic community and historians would talk about the NDH, and it would be illustrated by over two hours of film material on the NDH, purchased from the Yugoslav Film Archive.

Klasić underlined the valuable contribution of HRT's director and co-writer Miljenko Bukovčan and editor Iva Blašković.

Klasić: Series is neither ideological nor tendentious

"I would like to warn the viewers -- there are 12 episodes and this was not done in an ideological or tendentious way," Klasić said, adding that the series was not chronological but organised thematically.

"Everything that is said is enough to understand that moment -- the temporal, socio-political context, to understand what that state was and what kind of life its citizens had," he said.

The goal was not, he pointed out, to create a lexicon in which everything would be listed, but to give a description and an analysis of a time, and top experts from the entire region and Europe helped with that.

Klasić also explained his statement in Jutarnji List daily that "there are no conflicting opinions, but only because right-wing historians did not want to participate".

"When we talk about the NDH, there are no conflicting opinions among historians and scientists who care about their scientific reputation. Not among scientists in Zagreb, Belgrade, Sweden or in Washington," Klasić said.

Some have merely focused more on a particular period. Of course, there may be different opinions on how to approach the number of victims in Jasenovac or after Bleiburg, he added.

"However, when we talk about the character of the Ustasha-ruled state, the NDH, about the character of the Jasenovac camp or about what happened in May 1945, there is in principle no disagreement," Klasić said.

The series was shot on numerous locations, from the Vatican and Sachsenhausen, to Bleiburg and Jasenovac, Janka Puszta (Jankovac), but also Florence, where there is still the villa which Ustasha leader Ante Pavelić, Klasić said, got for his services in the future annexation of parts of the Croatian Adriatic as Mussolini's "man for special assignments".

Special episodes are dedicated to the economy and culture during the NDH, as well as the relationship between the Ustasha regime and the church.

"A large part of the series focuses on the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Ustasha movement. Many say that the Church used the Ustasha, but I believe that it was vice versa and many historians agree on that. Alojzije Stepinac was not a war criminal but he definitely was not an example of antifascist resistance," said Klasić.

As for possible negative reactions to the series, Klasić said he expected them from those who "have been reviving the NDH for the past 30 years."

"It is to be expected because we live in a country where abnormal things have become normal, including the Ustasha salute, where about 20 streets have been named after members of the Ustasha regime and where there are associations that deny Jasenovac," Klasić said.

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

 

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

USKOK Investigators Conducting Probe in Zagreb City Administration Offices

ZAGREB, 30 June, 2021 - The Office of Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Wednesday that a preliminary investigation by members of the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor and the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) started at the city administration offices at 6 am on Wednesday.

Tomašević said in a brief press release that the new city administration fully supported the independence of state institutions and would continue advocating the transparency of work of the city administration, all city departments, companies, institutions and the related businesses.

Media say HRT director arrested

Several people were arrested on Wednesday morning on the suspicion of corruption, including, according to media reports, the director-general of the HRT public broadcaster, Kazimir Bačić.

USKOK and police have not confirmed these reports, but media say that the suspicion of corruption refers mostly to transactions of the previous Zagreb city administration at the end of 2020 and in the first half of 2021.

Bačić was allegedly arrested over a suspicious contract he signed on behalf of HRT with the Tvornica Žarulja light bulb factory.

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

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Defence Minister Mario Banožić: Reintroducing Conscription Being Considered

ZAGREB, 26 May, 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić said on Wednesday the reintroduction of conscription was being considered and that, although he was sure it was the right move, he felt that Croatian society still had to deal with this subject a lot.

Speaking on Croatian Radio, Banožić said he tried to research the subject in recent months.

He said almost two in three citizens supported mandatory military service, but added that the motive for introducing it was important, and that was security and stability.

Parents are for introducing conscription first and foremost as an educational measure, which is not the right motive, he said.

Croatia needs security, stability and serving one's country as the motive, ideals which are the foundations of the Croatian army, courage and the desire to feel secure and whole, Banožić said.

Croatian society still has to deal with this subject a lot, but reintroducing mandatory military service is the right step, he added.

Asked if there was a road map and when that could be expected, he said that for now the ministry was researching public opinion and how to manage the process because of the sensitive subject.

Especially considering that once you abandon such a model, bringing conscription back is a much tougher challenge, he added.

For more about the army 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.

 

 

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

President Zoran Milanović: Proposal That Judges Elect Supreme Court Head is Absurd And Dangerous

ZAGREB, 5 May, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Wednesday described as absurd and dangerous the proposal by Supreme Court Vice President Marin Mrčela that it was judges who should elect the president of the highest court in the country.

Mrčela told the public television service HTV on Tuesday evening that disputes over the appointment of the Supreme Court President could be avoided if the system of selection was changed so that judges themselves elected the chief justice.

In order to change the process of selection of the Supreme Court President, it is necessary to amend the Constitution, which, however, requires a political consensus, Mrčela said on HTV's prime-time news programme.

President Milanović today criticised the appearance of a judge in the national broadcaster's prime time news programme.

"I consider it very dangerous that judges should appear in prime time news programmes to say what the Croatian Constitution should look like, after they themselves have destroyed it many times," Milanović said. "I don't dare come out with ideas that can change the world, while a judge, who obviously serves a life term, does," he added.

Milanović said that as the head of state he did not see himself in the role of someone who amends the Constitution but someone who guards it.

He  went on to say that Mrčela's proposal was "absolutely absurd" and such a model did not exist anywhere in Europe.

Milanović said that Mrčela, as a judge, was promoting political ideas. "That was a political statement. I urge judges not to comment on the political system in Croatia," the president said.

Mrčela also said that the current disputes about the future Supreme Court President were purely political, and pushed for removing politics from the process of appointment of the Supreme Court President.

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

 

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Supreme Court Vice President Marin Mrčela Pushes For Changing Model of Selecting Chief Justice

ZAGREB, 5 May, 2021 - Supreme Court Vice President Marin Mrčela told the national broadcaster (HTV) on Tuesday evening that the disputes in the election of that court's president could be avoided if the system of the selection is changed so that it is the judges themselves who elect their top-ranking colleague.

In this context he mentioned the model of the selection of the president of the Constitutional Court who is appointed by his/her colleagues.

Mrčela said that the current disputes about the future Supreme Court president are purely political.

He pushed for removing politics from the process of the appointment of the Supreme Court President and added that it would also be conducive to reducing the perception of the political influence on the judiciary.

In order to change the process of the selection of the Supreme Court President, it is necessary to amend the Constitution which, however, requires a political consensus, he admitted.

 A total of five candidacies have been submitted for the new head of the Supreme Court.

Earlier on Tuesday, President Zoran Milanović said that law professor Zlata Đurđević was his candidate for the Supreme Court president and asked members of parliament to think carefully before they reject her because he would hang tough on this matter.

Mrčela said that the Supreme Court would also give its opinion on the candidates, however, this opinion was not binding, despite GRECO's recommendations that it should be treated as binding.

For more about politics 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.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Parliament Elects 7 Members of Public Broadcaster's Programming Council

ZAGREB, 5 March, 2021 - Parliament on Friday elected by secret ballot seven members of the Croatian Radio-Television (HRT) Programming Council.

They are Nikola Baketa (99 votes), Vlaho Bogišić (101), Đemal Bratić (89), Ivica Lučić (89), Zorislav Lukić (83), Robert Markt (85) and Ozana Ramljak (92).

They were on a list of ten candidates recommended by the parliamentary information and media committee.

Which two will have a shortened term will be decided by the Programming Council, the committee decided. The committee's public call for applications stated that five Progamming Council members would be appointed to a term of four years and two until 12 July 2023.

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