Sunday, 19 December 2021

Survey Shows Politicians, Advertisers Pressure Journalists

ZAGREB, 19 Dec, 2021 - Companies' representatives, advertisers, politicians and government members are the untouchables in the media, according to a survey which journalist and editor Đurđica Klancir did for the GONG civil society organisation.

Although those in power often claim there is no censorship in Croatia's media sphere, more than two in three journalists answered in the affirmative when asked if they were exposed to pressure due to their stories in the past two years, GONG says on its website.

Also, two in three respondents said they witnessed pressure on their newsrooms by power-wielders, media owners, and their own outlet's marketing departments.

Thirty experienced journalists and editors from the public broadcaster, the most influential private TV stations, print media and web portals were contacted at the start of the survey and 23 responded, says GONG executive director Oriana Ivković Novokmet.

Almost half the respondents said that in the last two years they were banned from tackling certain subjects, most often due to advertisers but also during the 2020 parliamentary election campaign. Besides big advertisers, the untouchables included members of the ruling party, ministers, the prime minister, as well as opposition politicians.

Stories are most often stopped due to advertisers, but only a few respondents said attempts were made to influence their work while preparing and researching a story. Such suggestions came most often from their editors or their outlet's owners. According to one respondent, politicians and PR agents also suggested the direction a story should take.

With increasing frequency, journalists are asked to write articles commissioned by editors based on theses given in advance, often incorrect ones, one journalist said. "We are also asked to write PR and native articles, both economic and political ones, often covertly. Refusal to write an article in the way requested can mean, and often means, termination, and it almost certainly means degradation."

The findings of this pilot survey show that there is censorship in Croatia's media sphere and that newsroom censorship mechanisms are increasingly present, GONG says, adding that it's necessary to continue to look into this matter as well as persist in eliminating all forms of censorship and pressure on journalists and the media.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Plenković: I Will Not Accept Theory of Media Freedom Being Stifled in Croatia

ZAGREB, 23 Sept 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that he will not accept the theory of media freedom being stifled in Croatia, referring to a comment by Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Mirela Ahmetović's assessment that banning someone from writing is unprecedented pressure on the media.

"It's not normal and it isn't possible to accuse the government because of a ruling by one judge on a temporary measure in one case. The government, the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union), none of us has anything to do with the judge's decision on that temporary measure... I reject such insinuations, even about influence on the State Attorney's Office, let alone such an influence on the courts, that there is some intention to stifle media freedom," Plenković said after meeting with the generals, commanders, and officers from the Flash military-police operation.

After the nonprofit portal H-alter in the past few weeks ran a series of articles by reporter Jelena Jindra problematizing the work of a Zagreb center for the protection of children and its head Gordana Buljan Flander, Zagreb Municipal Court judge Andrija Krivak issued an injunction ordering H-alter to stop publishing articles about Buljan Flander.

Plenković said that Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek had given a brilliant statement about the court's decision and that he supports her in that.

The government advocates full media freedom, there are legal means to counter the temporary injunction, he said.

"I won't even go into the essence nor the decision, let alone accepts theories that media freedom is being stifled in Croatia. That is out of the question. That is not true," he added.

Asked whether the court's decision was stifling media freedom, Plenković said the Zagreb Municipal Court needs to be asked that.

"What has that got to do with us? It is a temporary injunction issued by a court. It is not a political decision by anyone here," he said and added that Minister Obuljen Koržinek said everything that had to be said about that.

Asked whether this could mean that anyone could seek the courts to ban someone from writing about them, he said that he doesn't think that is the case nor practice.

"I believe that media freedom in Croatia is such that everyone breathes freely," he said.

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

Friday, 6 August 2021

WEAA Black Lives Matter Croatia Report: TCN Helping American Colleagues

August 7, 2021 - Professor David Marshall arrived in the City of Zagreb to do a WEAA Black Lives Matter Croatia report and TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac meet up with him, providing on-record statements and research assistance as TCN partner up with WEAA to bring this story to the American public.

''So this is the statue of King Tomislav, our first Croatian King,'' I said to the visiting American when we arrived at Zagreb's ''Tomislavac'' (King Tomislav Square). He ruled back during the 10th century and he reigned over the biggest territory that encompassed today's Croatia, as well as what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.''

''How did you say you pronounce his name?'' asked me the American.

''Tomislav'' I repeated, noticing he had a bit of an issue pronouncing the name, so I broke it down the best way imaginable.

''So, it's Tomi, you know like the name Tommy, and slav, like slavs, as in Slavic people, so its Tomislav,''

''So... Tomi-slav?'' he asked.

''Exactly. Basically, he's a Slavic Tommy,'' I added.

''Slavic Tommy! I love it!,'' said our American visitor to the capital. tcn_reporter_ivor_kruljac_with_prof_marshall.jpg

 Professor David Marshall with TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac in Zagreb

Croatia: Expressing solidarity and understanding global problems

Dr. David Marshall is Professor and Chair of the Department of Strategic Communication in the School of Global Journalism & Communication (SGJC) at Morgan State University in Baltimore, USA.

He worked on an assignment for WEAA, a radio station that, under the slogan ''Voice of the community'', brings its audience a programme of jazz, gospel, reggae, and public affairs. In the sea of many interesting issues WEAA covers, they collaborate with Morgan State University on a project entitled ''WEAA on assignment''. One of these assignments takes a look at the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement around the world, which brought professor Marshall to Croatia.

With TCN writing about the 2020 protest in Zagreb in support of BLM triggered by the horrible death of George Floyd which shocked the world, it was only logical to partner up with WEAA on their story in Croatia. Check it out yourself in the video below:

 

The BLM movement in Croatia may come as a bit of a shock to those who know that Croatia is the most racially pure caucasian country in the entire world (with 99.3% of the population being ethnic Croats). That said, the country still has a black community.

With Total Croatia News being totally about Croatia, we even covered what it's like for black people living in Croatia and listed some unfortunate incidents that black people have experienced in the country. For example, the case of Nigerian students that participated in World InterUniversities Championships who were exiled from Zagreb to Bosnia, as they were thought to be refugees, or the case of two black members of the US Air Force that were attacked at a Nightclub in Zadar (with police reports stating that they were not attacked because of their race, but rather because they were twerking in the club, and attackers thought they were gay, which is just as awful).

Thus, the BLM support protest in Zagreb wasn't just about global solidarity, but about associating the injustice and discrimination in the US with the discrimination in Croatia. Homophobia and the questionable treatment of refugees seeking asylum in Croatia being the most widely known issues of discrimination and inequality here.

Croatia: Full of news stories 

As TCN continues to cover Croatia in the most total sense possible, encompassing both the good and the bad, we were honoured to be recognised by WEAA and we were more than glad to able to assist them in their reporting. If you yourselves are journalists and reporters coming to Croatia to cover a story, don't hesitate to contact us, and we will help as much as we can. The best way to reach us is via e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., but you can also contact us through Facebook.  

Check out our new Total Croatia website that brings you detailed reports on Croatia, covering destinations, culture, history and much, much more.

For more news about Croatia in English, make sure to follow TCN.

Friday, 16 April 2021

The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND): "At Least 924 Law Actions Against Reporters and Media Outlets Currently Active"

ZAGREB, 16 April, 2021 - The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Friday presented the results of its latest survey showing that there are currently at least 924 lawsuits against the media and reporters in Croatia with plaintiffs seeking HRK 78.5 million in damages.

The real number of lawsuits may be even greater because the data collected refers to only 23 media outlets, HND president Hrvoje Zovko said at a news conference in Zagreb.

The HND says on its website that "same as last year, Hanza Media has the highest number of lawsuits, 479 of them, with the average indemnity demands of 13,333 euro per lawsuit. Styria follows them with 203 lawsuits – the amounts of indemnity requests made to them result to almost € 2.7 million. In active litigation, the amount of claims ranges from several thousand kunas to even more than one million kunas, while the longest active litigation is currently in its 12th year." 

The HND will continue to warn the local and international public about that problem, said Zovko and called on all reporters for solidarity in the fight against that kind of intimidation.

HND secretary-general Ema Tarabochia reported that in February last year there were 905 law actions against media outlets and journalists . Even though this year's number is insignificantly higher, it is particularly concerning that such a number of active cases exists in any case, she said.

"Out of the total number of 924 lawsuits, 892 refer to civil actions against publishers, their editors and journalists, for compensation of damages due to violations of honor and reputation based on published texts and articles, while the remaining number of 32 lawsuits refers to currently active criminal proceedings. Among prosecutors, apart from natural persons unknown to the general public, the most prominent are persons from public and political life, followed by legal entities, politicians in power, even judges themselves," says the HND on its website.

Three active disputes against HND

The HRT national broadcaster has a lawsuit against Zovko seeking compensation of HRK 250,000 and HRK 200,000 from HND. In that same legal action HRT is seeking HRK 50,000 in damages from HTV reporters Sanja Mikleušević Pavić.

As HND said, this is a unique case where a public media service is suing one of its own employees but also a reporters' professional association.

Government should conduct education to prevent lawsuits occurring

Laywer and member of the European Commission expert group for SLAPP suits, Vanja Jurić said today that the government should conduct education for politicians, lawyers and judges in preventing lawsuits against reporters and the media and to have them realise that they need to be prepared to accept criticism.

She in particular warned of the danger of the Strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP).

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

 

Friday, 26 March 2021

A1 Croatia: "No Deal Reached With United Media Group on N1 Channel"

ZAGREB, 26 March, 2021 - The A1 Hrvatska telecommunications company said on Friday that no agreement had been reached with the United Media Group on the distribution of the N1 TV channel, and that as of 29 March the channel would no longer be available on their TV platform.

The company said it was ready to pay a much higher distribution price than justified for a longer period, but the United Media Group had set an additional condition and asked for a six-month contract only, despite the fact that the contract had usually been a three-year one.

"A1 Hrvatska cannot accept a six-month agreement because that means avoiding a real solution for us and our customers. Such a condition is manipulation ... which United Media Group uses for its negotiations with other operators which it is currently conducting, and it is using this situation to put pressure on state institutions in order to change the legal framework," the telecom said.

It said it is "still open for talks and cooperation with all providers of attractive programme content who are willing to cooperate and whose broadcasting is in the interest of users".

"Even after United Media Group has launched a media campaign trying to manipulate and exert pressure on us by calling commercial business negotiations media censorship, we were willing to continue negotiating until the last moment in good faith and in the best interest of our customers, seeking only a reasonable and viable offer for the distribution of the N1 channel," A1 said.

It added that despite the statements by the programme director that they were prepared to offer to distribute the N1 channel free of charge, that option had never officially been offered during the negotiations.

It has been recently announced that A1 cable provider will drop N1 television and Sport Klub channels from its programming package. The decision to replace some of the channels in their offer, including N1, was made solely due to unfavourable business conditions, the operator said.

In mid-March the United Media replied that "A1 didn’t have a single reason to make the decision they made and drop N1 and Sport Klub."

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

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