Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Croatian Radio Television Editor: HRT Needs Funding for Better Programs!

“If everyone paid 96 HRK (12,90 EUR) a month to HRT (Croatian Radio Television), we could perform miracles.” It’s not that ideas are lacking, or that people aren’t creative,” according HRT’s Editor-in-Chief, but HRT is not receiving adequate funding.

HRT, the main public broadcasting service in Croatia, is funded mostly through a compulsory monthly subscription fee of 80 HRK (10,75 EUR).

Program Council Postponing Presidential Election to 2020

On Monday, the HRT Program Council postponed the election of a president until their next session, which is scheduled for January 27. They also discussed Croatian Radio Television's production program for 2020, without providing a positive appraisal of that program, according to Telegram/HINA on December 16, 2019.

The election for the President of the Program Council was postponed after council members failed to elect a president during the four election rounds at the last session in mid-November. None of the candidates had achieved the required six vote majority.

The program council currently consists of nine members, although eleven are legally mandated. On Monday they also discussed the public service broadcasting program for the upcoming year. However, only five members gave the proposed program a "positive assessment” and included their recommendations in the Program Council's comments, while three members abstained.

Croatian Radio Television 2020 Program Still Under Review

HRT's program for next year was presented by the public service broadcasters, who emphasized that the monitoring of Croatia's EU Council Presidency, the European Capital of Culture in Rijeka, the EURO and the Olympic Games in Tokyo are among most important upcoming projects in 2020.

During the discussion regarding the upcoming planned Croatian Radio Television output and the implementation of contractual programming commitments; the members of the Program Council made several comments, most notably about the informative programs, the procurement and selection of content from external productions and the output of local HRT stations.


Stipe Alfier | HRT

Did Not Report Zagreb Advent Misconduct and Presidents’ Bus Accident

Recently elected HRT Program Council member Stipe Alfier sharply criticized HRT’s public service broadcasting and cited the recent avoidance of major news topics in news programs - including the alleged misconduct of the Zagreb Advent Organization and the failure to report a bus accident during Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic’s presidential campaign.

Katarina Periša Čakarun, the head of HTV's Information Media Services (IMS) department, dismissed Alfier's allegations regarding HRT’s avoidance of these topics. Bruno Kovačević, editor-in-chief for all HTV television programs, emphasized that there was room for further improvement in HRT programming in accordance with their obligations, and the agreement between HRT and the Croatian government.

Need to Raise Monthly Fee for Better Programming

"We could produce much better programming. It’s not that ideas are lacking, or that people aren’t creative. Don’t forget that our fee has been 80 HRK (10,75 EUR) a month for the last nine years. It should be 96 HRK (13 EUR). According to our calculations, 96 HRK would amount to 1.5 percent of the average net salary in Croatia (6,418 HRK or 862,11 EUR). We could perform miracles with that 16 HRK difference,” Kovačević declared.

Note that the well-known UK-Based public broadcaster BBC has a similar compulsory monthly fee, which is currently 15,26 EUR and only 4,5 EUR more than the HRT fee. According to recent statistics, the average UK monthly net salary is 2907 EUR, which means that the BBC monthly fee for UK residents is on average only 0.525 percent of their monthly take-home income!

In addition to discussing programming, the HRT Program Council members also created a list of candidates for the Commissioner for HRT Consumers position after a public call for applications. Ten applications have been submitted.

Compulsory Monthly Fee Under Increased Scrutiny

The compulsory monthly HRT subscription fee has recently come under increased scrutiny. Up until 2015, HRT inspectors could enter private homes and businesses to verify that occupants owned receivers, which are defined as any device that can receive an HRT television or radio broadcast. If the inspector verified that the home owner, resident, tenant or business owner owned a receiver, they were required to pay the HRT monthly subscription fee.

The inspectors also had the authority to assign the compulsory 80 HRK fee, even if no one answered the door for this inspection, which is no longer the case. If certain conditions are met, a resident can submit a written request to be exempted from paying the monthly fee. Those conditions include: not owning a receiver, moving into assisted living or a nursing home and death. All three conditions require written statements and supporting documents. More information and an application can be found here.

According to Luka Filipović/tportal on December 16, 2019 – HRT representatives have confirmed the recent court ruling that an authorized HRT inspector is not allowed to enter a home or apartment unless the occupant provides consent.


Ukinimo HRT Pristojbu | Facebook

Croatian Radio Television Inspectors Can't Enter Without Consent

"The authorized HRT inspectors do not have a court order to enter a home or apartment. When performing field inspections, they are obliged to furnish their official HRT identification. They can perform an inspection only in the event of a residents' consent. That inspection involves entering an apartment and making a record of established facts," Croatian Radio Television explained.

HRT reports payment inspections for a specific area to local police stations and informs them of the authorized HRT inspectors who will be conducting those inspections. "If citizens call the police during the surveillance procedure, the police will not respond because the the inspector's activities have already been reported to the local police stations," HRT emphasized.

Citizens Should Contact Police Regarding HRT Inspector Misconduct

A representative for the Croatian police emphasized that citizens are encouraged to request a police intervention by dialing 192 if they believe that their rights have been violated or have been subject to unlawful behavior. "A police report is submitted immediately, and officers will go to the scene to collect relevant information and analyze the event," a MUP representative explained.

Follow our Lifestyle page for updates on HRT programming and changes to the compulsory monthly fee.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Croatian President Will Debate Presidential Candidates Tomorrow

The incumbent Croatian president has accepted the HRT invitation to debate with the other presidential candidates. We have learned that HDZ candidate, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, will nevertheless come face to face with the other presidential candidates in a debate, which is being coordinated by HRT (Croatian Radio Television) tomorrow night December 17, 2019 at 21:05h.

Grabar-Kitarović confirmed the news and stated that "each candidate who has collected 10 thousand signatures must have an equal opportunity and no one should be underestimated or favored before the first election round takes place."

All Eleven Croatian Candidates Expected to Attend

According to unofficial reports, all eleven presidential candidates are expected to show up at HRT studios on Tuesday at 21:05h. The debate will be televised on HRT1, as reported by Jutarnji List/Zadarski on December 16, 2019.

The eleven presidential candidates are:

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović – Current President | HDZ
Zoran Milanović – Former Prime Minister | SDP
Miroslav Škoro – Folk singer and former Croatian Parliament Representative | Independent
Mislav Kolakušić – Former Judge and EU Parliament Representative | Independent
Dario Juričan – Legal name: Milan Bandić. Filmmaker and Performance Artist | Independent
Dejan Kovač – Economist and Princeton graduate | HSLS
Dalija Orešković – Former Chair Conflicts of Interest Croatian Parliament | Independent
Ivan Pernar – Member of Croatian Parliament | Party of Ivan Pernar
Anto Đapić – Former Osijek Mayor and Former Member of Croatian Parliament | DESNO
Nedjeljko Babić – Regional party candidate | HSSČKŠ
Katarina Peović – Former member of Zagreb assembly | Workers’ Front

Milanović Sought Guarantee for President’s Appearance

Earlier on Monday, SDP presidential candidate Zoran Milanović spoke about the debate, saying that he had sent an official memo to HRT seeking a guarantee that the current president would appear - otherwise he would not participate.

“Presidential candidate Zoran Milanović will participate in the debate organized by HRT on December 17, 2019 if President of the Republic, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is running as a candidate and defending her term, agrees to participate in the debate. If HRT, as organizer of the debate, can confirm and guarantee the arrival of President Grabar-Kitarović, Zoran Milanović is also ready to participate. Please confirm that she will attend,” the memo reads.

“However, we are still waiting for HTV's response. The day before the much-publicized debate, they don't want to reveal on public television whether Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is coming to the debate? Give us an answer and let us know because we’ll continue to think that HTV is negotiating with the HDZ behind our backs. You're not going to bring Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović through the back door, in the dark, to Prisavlje (location of HRT headquarters), are you? We expect a response by 10am on Tuesday,” Milanović wrote on Facebook.

A response from Grabar-Kitarović's headquarters has arrived in the meantime.

"Finally, we were able to get a confirmation that the current president is coming to the debate. I'll respond. I know what I've been doing for the last 10 years and I know I'll be the target of criticism for those who want to celebrate through the night. My goal is for a normal Croatia and it starts on January 5th," read his Facebook update on December 16, 2019.

Earlier Debates Abandoned Due to President’s Non-participation

Zoran Milanović and Miroslav Škoro had refused to participate in debates among the four most popular candidates, which other TV stations had tried to coordinate, since Grabar-Kitarović chose not to participate. As she did not consent, planning for those debates failed. Mislav Kolakušić was the only candidate who had given his consent.

Be sure and watch the debate tomorrow December 17, 2019 on HRT1 at 21:05h. Follow our Politics page for updates on the 2019/2020 presidential elections.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Croatian Radio Television (HRT) Monthly Fee: Everything You Need to Know

According to the law, an 80 HRK monthly fee (or mjesečna pristojba), payable to HRT (Croatian Radio Television), is mandatory for anyone who lives in Croatia and owns a receiver which can accept transmissions of radio or audio-visual programs. Here is an explanation of where that money goes, your rights and how you can obtain an exemption.  

You’ve just settled into a new address in Croatia and hear a knock on your door. But you don't answer, so they leave. Days later you receive your first monthly bill for 80 HRK (10,75 EUR) payable to HRT (Croatian Radio and Television)! Until recently, this questionable conduct was legal.

For a non-EU citizen, the controversial mandatory monthly HRT fee (or mjesečna pristojba) may come as an unwelcome surprise. HRT is considered “public television” in Croatia. Public television in the United States, for example, is mostly funded by donations from corporations, private benefactors and so-called “viewers like you”. So, by comparison, they depend mostly on revenue from voluntary, rather than mandatory sources. Only about 11% of US public television revenues come from federal sources, which are funded indirectly by taxpayer dollars.


mjesečna pristojba

Who has to pay the Croatian Radio Television (HRT) monthly fee?

According to the Law on Croatian Radio and Television (Zakon o Hrvatskoj radioteleviziji), the monthly fee is mandatory for anyone who owns a receiver which can accept transmissions of radio or audio-visual programs. Radios, TVs, computers, laptops, car radios, smartphones and tablets are all considered receivers. If you or anyone in your household owns one or more of these receivers (one fee per household), you are required by law to pay the fee even if you're just a tenant.

Where does the HRT money go?

This monthly fee is not entirely allocated to HRT, rather a portion of it is earmarked for a special fund which finances other forms of electronic media.

HRT, as a public service broadcaster, and the beneficiary of a largest portion of the fee, must comply with a series of federal legal guidelines, and provide regular financial reports to the Croatian Parliament and public. The law stipulates that this type of public financing (along with the proceeds from advertising) ensures financial independence and therefore promotes high-quality independent media programming. You can read in more detail about these allocations here. A summary of how that money is allocated:

68.4% | 55 HRK - Program production costs.

11.7% | 9 HRK - Broadcasting, including appropriations for Transmitters and Communications (OiV), the Croatian Composers Society (HDS), the Croatian Performing Rights Protection Association (HUZIP) and the Association for the Protection, Collection and Distribution of Phonogram Rights (ZAPRAF).

4.5% | 3,5 HRK - Legal fees (the Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Media Diversity, the Electronic Media Council and the Croatian Audiovisual Center).

4.4% | 3,5 HRK - Expenses for the organizational units of the Croatian Broadcasting Company which are related to the performance of a public activity (Working Unit Fee of Croatian Radio-Television, Working Unit Archive of Croatian Radio-Television, Working Unit Internal Audit of Croatian Radio-Television).

11% | 9 HRK - Operating expenses (provisions, value adjustments and financial expenses).

Why wouldn’t people want to pay the HRT fee?

A monthly fee of 80 HRK may not seem like a lot of money. Nevertheless, that totals 960 HRK/130 EUR annually which is no small amount; especially for students and retirees. A supplemental health insurance policy or “dopunsko osiguranje” often costs less. And some people simply do not have, or don’t use, any of their receivers to watch or listen to HRT programming. So, why should they pay for a service they don’t use? A group called “ukinimo HRT pristojbu” (let’s abolish the HRT fee) has existed on Facebook since 2015 and has over 41,000 followers. Their website can be accessed here.


“ukinimo HRT pristojbu” (let’s abolish the HRT fee) | Facebook

How to obtain an exemption

It is possible to apply for an exemption. In order to unsubscribe from the mandatory fee, it is necessary to fill in the cancellation form titled “Zahtjev za odjavu obveze plaćanja mjesečne pristojbe”, which can be downloaded here. Just complete it, sign it and deliver it to the following address:

Prisavlje 3
10 000 Zagreb

This can be done in person, by mail or through an authorized individual. It is important to note that it is no longer necessary to authenticate (or notarize) the form. The cancellation takes effect from the first of the following month from the date of the signed received cancellation form.

The HRT cancellation form notes three acceptable reasons to “unsubscribe” from the fee:

  1. No receivers (for watching or listening to HRT programming). A separate written signed declaration must be included with the form.
  2. Moving to assisted living or a nursing home. Proof of the new address must be provided.
  3. Death of the “subscriber”. A death certificate is required.

Since most people have at least one receiver, choosing the first option seems infeasible. However, the burden of proof falls on HRT, and a recent court decision has made that burden even more difficult.

Is an HRT Inspector allowed to enter your home?

Due to a judgement from the High Administrative Court (Visoki upravni sud), enacted in August 2015, which bans unauthorized entry into private homes, no one is permitted to enter a private apartment or house without a court order and the presence of an authorized person (i.e. a police officer).

Therefore, no one is required to allow an HRT Inspector to enter their home to verify possession of any receivers. Recently, the Croatian Consumer Network (Mreža potrošača Hrvatske) went even further and claimed that HRT Inspectors were violating the law by conducting these payment checks for HRT. They urged citizens to resist "HRT arrogance" and call the police when they see HRT Inspectors in buildings or in front of their homes.

Nevertheless, there have been reports of recent incidents where people have allowed HRT Inspectors into their homes. Most of these cases involve tenants and students, who are unaware of the recent legislation.

A recent court decision also rejected the HRT practice of automatically subscribing anyone who doesn’t allow an HRT Inspector to enter their home, according to Narodni List. Before that court decision, that person would automatically begin to receive monthly bills for a subscription if they had refused entry to an HRT Inspector. That is no longer the case today. This also applies to ex-subscribers and HRT is not allowed to re-subscribe anyone by default.

How can HRT legally demand payment of the monthly fee?

The recent court ruling also explains that HRT may, however, file a misdemeanor charge (indictment) and initiate proceedings against anyone who is suspected of watching or listening to HRT programs on their receivers. Since a private household can legally refuse entry to an HRT Inspector, it will be difficult for HRT to prove that a household owns any receivers or uses them for HRT programming. However, streaming HRT content on a PC or the HRT smartphone app requires a user to register with an email address on the HRT website, which would allow their activity to be monitored.

For fans of HRT programming, the 80 HRK per month might be considered money well-spent. HRT continues to produce an array of fine programs, all of which can be streamed online, including the acclaimed Novine series, which was picked up by Netflix last year.

For more information on Croatian media and culture follow our Lifestyle page.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Court Rules HND President Fired Unlawfully by HRT

ZAGREB, October 29, 2019 - The Zagreb Municipal Labour Court ruled on Tuesday that the president of the Croatian Journalists Association (HND), Hrvoje Zovko, had been fired unlawfully by the Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) public broadcaster last year.

Under the ruling, which may be appealed, Zovko is to be reinstated as an editor at HRT.

In a statement to Hina, Zovko said that he had expected such a verdict and was satisfied with it. "The verdict confirms what I have been saying from day one," he said.

The dispute between Zovko and HRT ensued after the HRT management last September 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 Periša Čakarun.

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 Periša Čakarun, 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 Periša Čakarun.

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.

Zovko has dismissed accusations from his notice of dismissal on several occasions.

Last November HRT decided to reinstate him but he was suspended on the same day pending the completion of the court proceedings.

Apart from the HND's branch at HRT, Zovko was also supported by international journalists' associations.

More news about pressure on journalists in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 19 April 2019

As Croatia Raises Prices, Nautical Tourism Turns to Greece and Turkey

As Morski writes on the 19th of April, 2019, Croatia's nautical tourism season has already started, beginning about a month ago and lasts the longest of all, for about eight months in total. What can be expected this season and whether or not the Greeks have taken away part of what would have been Croatian guests due to the Greek state's measures, are just a couple of the issues that Robert Pende, an assistant in the Croatian Ministry of Tourism, Roko Vuletić, the president of HUP's nautical sector and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's Sean Lisjak discussed on HTV's "Good morning, Croatia" show.

Robert Pende stated the nautical season has just begun, and so far we have room to be satisfied and we can expect the season to be on the same level as last year.

Vuletić said that according to field information, the data isn't so great.

"We're the leaders in the world in one segment of nautical tourism, and that's renting a boat without a crew. We're receiving information from our colleagues who have charter agencies that some existing reservations have been canceled due to Croatia's price increases, which has been a big trend in recent years, although charter agencies raised their prices the least, given the growth of offers and competition,'' said Vuletić.

He added that guests are increasingly looking for package deals and that there are less and less classic nautical guests - they're wanting to have a whole package, from airline transfers, accommodation, gastronomic offers, and all of that has increased in price, including in marinas.

''In combination with the announced recession, people are becoming more cautious about what they're spending, they want to go to new destinations, and Greece and Turkey are growing rapidly,'' he said.

Lisjak said he was not afraid about people cancelling their reservations, he stated that Croatia's nautical tourism sector is a vigorous activity and in the last fifteen years Croatia has had continuity. He added that Croatia needs to be careful because new markets are opening their doors that have recently been avoided for security and various other reasons. He added that believes that if Croatia manages to accomplish last year's results despite all of that, then it can be satisfied.

He said that Croatia made 860 billion kuna from tourism last year and added that a way should be found to allow existing investors to invest in marinas.

He noted that a certain drop in transit has been recorded with the aforementioned Croatian price increases, adding that Croatia does have to be careful with its pricing policy and that the country needs to focus on being as competitive as possible.

Vuletić believes that boosting advertising activities on new markets needs to be done. Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are Croatia's traditional markets, and the country should turn to the growing American or Scandinavian market, reports HRT.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. Interested in learning more about sailing in Croatia? Give Total Croatia Sailing a follow.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Advent in Zagreb: Free Public Transport at Weekends

December the 5th, 2018 - Advent in Zagreb is well and truly bringing the Croatian capital into the joyous atmosphere of the festive season, and the three time winner of the best advent destination in Europe is offering what it usually does at this time of year, once again - free public transport use at weekends.

As studentski.hr writes, the City of Zagreb has provided Zagreb's residents and tourists alike with the free use of the city's public transport every weekend for the duration of Advent in Zagreb, which will last until January the 6th, 2019.

Zagreb's long standing mayor Milan Bandić confirmed for a previous HRT radio show that the capital's trams and buses operating in zone 1 will not charge for their services on weekends during the period of the current advent festivities in the Croatian capital. The move comes as no surprise and has been the norm during advent.

Nevertheless, a small change is that one of Zagreb's most popular attractions, the Zagreb funicular (Uspinjača), which will be transporting passengers to midnight, has to be paid for as normal for the entire duration of Advent in Zagreb, which has otherwise not been the case over the past few years.

To be more specific, Zagreb's public transport will be free during the period from Friday at 12:00 (midday) to Sunday at midnight. It should be noted that during this period, traffic will be prohibited in certain otherwise busy areas, those areas are Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square (Zrinjevac), Strossmayer Square, and King Tomislav Square, where only public transport vehicles may be used during the aforementioned periods.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated travel and lifestyle pages for further information like this, and much more. If it's just the capital you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.


Click here for the original article by Anton Smrekar for studentski.hr

Source: HRT

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Mate Rimac: We Made Mistakes, But We Learned From Them

Rimac speaks of the hardships of such a heavy workload, and how the car industry is an extremely difficult one worldwide.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Nova TV to Exclusively Broadcast All Croatia National Team Games for Next Four Years

The most-watched television station in Croatia will exclusively transmit all Croatian football team games over the next four years.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Croatian TV Series Sold to Channel 4 and Swedish SVT

Guardian of the Castle is a political thriller written and directed by Lukas Nola

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Croatian Radio Television Urged to Cut Costs

ZAGREB, March 15, 2018 - The Croatian government on Thursday recommended that the parliament adopt a report on the operation of the Croatian Radio Television (HRT) public broadcaster in 2016 but also oblige the public media service to make a plan to cut its loan debt, reduce operating costs and the cost of external contractors, increase the efficiency of its permanent staff and carry out restructuring due to problems identified in its business operations.

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