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.

Monday, 2 November 2020

HND: Unpunished Crimes Against Reporters Result in Fear, Self-Censorship

ZAGREB, November 2, 2020 - The Croatian Journalists Association has said, on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, that crimes against reporters are very often not punished, which leads to new attacks and an atmosphere of fear resulting in media censorship and self-censorship.

The HND recalls in a statement issued on Monday that in the past six years there were 28 attacks, 22 death and assault threats and 14 other threats (64 in total) against reporters, media outlets or journalists organisations in Croatia.

Of the nine attacks that have happened this year, prosecutors have launched proceedings in two cases, and there are numerous cases of previous years that still have not been closed, the HND says.

"The HND is warning about the years-long silence of the leading people in the country, starting from the prime minister. We are therefore asking for clear and unequivocal condemnation of attacks and threats against reporters," the umbrella journalists association says.

It notes that according to UNESCO data, in the period from 2006 to 2019 around 1,200 reporters were killed worldwide, or one in four days on average.

They were all killed while doing their job in public interest, the HND says.

In nine out of ten cases the perpetrators and those who have ordered the murder are not punished, the HND says.

According to the regional database of attacks on journalists (safejournalists.net), since 2015, 774 threats and attacks against reporters have been reported in six countries of the region (North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia), including two cases of attempted murder, both in Croatia.

In none of the two cases has the perpetrator been found or punished, the HND warns.

Friday, 23 October 2020

Media Outlets Disable Readers' Comments for 2 Hours in anti-Hate Speech Campaign

ZAGREB, October 23, 2020 - Numerous influential Croatian media outlets on Friday joined a campaign against hate speech launched by the Croatian Journalists Association (HND) and the Croatian Journalists Union (SNH), disabling readers' comments below news articles from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The call to join the campaign #zajednobezmrznje (togetherwithouthate) was accepted by the leading dailies Jutarnji List, Slobodna Dalmacija, 24sata, Vecernji List, Novi List, Glas Slavonije and Glas Istre, which earlier in the day announced on their web portals that they would disable comments below all articles for two hours.

The media outlets said they were joining the campaign to point to the problem of hate speech and help launch a debate about it.

The public broadcaster HRT, too, joined in the campaign as did the web portals Telegram, T-portal, Tris, Zagreb.info, the N1 broadcaster, the Serb minority weekly Novosti, the Italian minority daily La Voce del Popolo, local media as well as numerous media and communication experts.


Hate speech spills over from social networks into real world

HND president Hrvoje Zovko said he was exceptionally pleased with the response to the campaign, expresing hope that those outlets which did not participate today would join next time.

SNH leader Maja Sever said that it was exceptionally important to think about and discuss hate speech as well as reach agreement on ways to fight it.

She noted that reporters being targeted was not the only problematic thing, but that also problematic was that insults and threats were becoming normal and common in the public sphere.

The HND and the SNH also called on media outlets to join their campaign #danemanovinara to remind the public why journalism is important and to send them links to news stories that would not have been discovered had it not been for journalists.

Monday, 14 September 2020

HND Protests Against the Constitutional Court's Decision

ZAGREB, Sept 14, 2020  - HND protests against the Constitutional Court's decision not to allow reporters to attend its session discussing decisions of the national COVID-19 response team.

"The Croatian Journalist Association strongly protests against the Constitutional Court's decision which prevents media from covering its session focusing on the lawfulness of decisions made by the national COVID-19 response team on epidemiological measures during the coronavirus pandemic," the umbrella journalists' association said in a statement.

It noted that the court's decision was contrary to democratic standards, media freedoms, and the right of the public to be informed of all court decisions, notably the latest one.

Earlier in the day, the Constitutional Court decided that its session discussing the legality of measures introduced to fight the coronavirus epidemic would not be attended by media representatives.

Court secretary-general Teodor Antic said that once the court made a decision, it would issue a statement, and once its decision was published and sent to the parties that had put forward the proposal for a public debate, the court president would hold a news conference.

The HND said it did not believe the Constitutional Court's promise that all questions from the press would be answered fully and in a timely manner, noting that preventing reporters from following the court session "leaves one with a strong impression that the Constitutional Court is hiding something from reporters and the public."

"And all of that is happening in an EU country which until recently chaired the EU," the HND said.

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Tuesday, 25 August 2020

HRT Must Reinstate Reporter, HND President Hrvoje Zovko

ZAGREB, Aug 25, 2020 - Croatian Journalists Association (HND) president Hrvoje Zovko said on Tuesday that the Rijeka County Court had rejected an appeal by the HRT public broadcaster, confirming that the HRT's having fired him in September 2018 was an unlawful decision and that he had to be reinstated. 

Zovko must be reinstated as editor-coordinator within eight days and the HRT must compensate him for the income lost, plus interest.

Zovko thanked the HND, the Croatian Journalists Union, international journalists' associations, and numerous colleagues for support.

He was fired in September 2018 after the HRT management made a decision on an instant dismissal of its reporter and HND president.

The dismissal was initiated based on a complaint by the editor-in-chief of Croatian Television's (HTV) news service, Katarina Perisa Cakarun.

Some ten days before that, Zovko tendered his resignation as the editor-in-chief of the HTV Channel 4, saying in a letter that his decision was due to pressure, censorship, an unprofessional choice of topics, lack of organisation and serious technical problems on Channel 4.

This was followed by a meeting with Perisa Cakarun, at which she accepted his resignation. However, only two hours later, Zovko was invited to a second meeting at which an argument erupted between him and Perisa Cakarun.

HRT said Zovko had been dismissed due to a grave breach of rules of office and conduct, a number of insults he said, inappropriate conduct and inappropriate and unprofessional statements, adding that the incident happened during working hours in HRT offices.

The HRT Staff Council voted against Zovko's dismissal but its opinion was not binding on the HRT management.

With its ruling, the Rijeka County Court has upheld a 2019 ruling which said that Zovko had been fired unlawfully.

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Friday, 24 July 2020

Journalists' Association, Union Write to PM, Media Minister

ZAGREB, July 24, 2020 - The Croatian journalists' association (HND) and union (SNH) sent an open letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek on Friday, reminding them of unsolved problems and asking for a media strategy, new media laws, and journalism funds.

Four years ago, you announced a quality media strategy, a media legislation reform and support for quality journalism and free and professional journalists and media. New laws on the media and the public broadcaster have not been passed, while the copyright law was criticised in public consultation by almost all relevant professional organisations,the HND and SNH say in the letter.

They recall that last year they were forced to protest in the streets against the huge number of lawsuits against journalists and media, political and advertisers' pressure, threats against journalists, the undermining of professional rights and standards, the breach of media laws and lack of a serious media policy.

Today the situation is even worse, as the coronavirus crisis has further deepened the economic difficulties in the media sector and shown how unprotected media staff are, the letter said, adding that in several years before this crisis 50% of media staff were laid off.

The HND and SNH also ask for stronger social dialogue, stopping strategic lawsuits against public participation, including the HND and SNH in decision making and that their remarks on the electronic media bill be accepted.

We hope that in this term you will improve media legislation to ensure media independence and conditions for free and professional journalism. If journalists live in poverty, corruption or fear, there is no freedom of the press or democracy, the letter said.

Friday, 26 June 2020

HND Tells PM: Instead Of Accusing Journalists, Answer Their Questions

ZAGREB, June 26, 2020 - The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Thursday called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to stop accusing journalists, saying that they were only asking legitimate questions and his duty as the prime minister was to answer them.

On Tuesday, the prime minister openly accused N1 television reporter Hrvoje Kresic of campaigning for the opposition after he asked Plenkovic when he would go into self-isolation given that he had had contact with tennis player Novak Djokovic, one of the participants in a tennis tournament in Zadar who were infected with the coronavirus. On Wednesday, he also behaved inappropriately towards 24 Sata reporter Nikol Zagorac by refusing to answer her question, the HND said in a statement.

It recalled that it was not the first time Plenkovic had "lectured and publicly accused journalists and the media questioning his work and his actions."

"He accused us of waging 'hybrid wars', during the Agrokor affair he said that we were working under instructions, he told our female colleagues that they were 'sweet' and he lectured us on how to do our job," the HND said.

Such behaviour on the part of the prime minister is unworthy of the office he holds and yet another proof that politicians in Croatia, regardless of the political camp they belong to, do not understand the purpose and importance of journalists and the media, the HND said, stressing that journalists work neither for the government nor for the opposition but solely in the interest of the public.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Only 15% of Freelancers in Croatian Media Sector Have Kept Jobs

ZAGREB, April 14, 2020 - One third of freelancers in the Croatian media sector have lost all their jobs since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, 26% have lost most of their jobs, and only 15% have kept their jobs, according to a survey by the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (SNH).

"Two-thirds of the freelancers polled have lost all, most or half of their jobs since the beginning of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is alarming that almost a third of them have been left with no income at all. Only 14% of the respondents have managed to keep most of their jobs," the HND and SNH said in a press release.

Only a small group of freelancers in the media sector (15%) have managed to keep all of their previous business engagements.

The survey was conducted on a sample of 164 freelancers. A vast majority of the respondents cited journalism as the only and primary source of income. HND president Hrvoje Zovko pointed out that the survey results confirmed the importance of protecting those who feel the impact of the crisis first.

"We think that the government should agree to the demands made by the HND and SNH, which, among other things, aim to ensure measures for the protection of freelancers in the media sector," he emphasised.

SNH leader Maja Sever noted that journalists felt the impact of the crisis in less than a month from its start.

"We might not have been loud enough in warning that journalism needed help and that we needed job-saving measures, but only because we were busy. During this crisis, journalists have shown what an important role they play in our society. By providing citizens with timely and truthful information, they help the public receive important information on time, and accurate information can save lives today," Sever said.

More news about journalism in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

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