Saturday, 30 April 2022

Journalists' Association Asks President to Stop Insulting Their Profession

ZAGREB, 30 April 2022 - The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Saturday asked President Zoran Milanović to stop insulting the journalistic profession, saying that his statements about journalists and the media are inappropriate and to be condemned.

The HND commented on Milanović's statement that he did not follow the media. "They follow me, like scabies, like a skin infection... It's awfully bad. The education criterion has declined enormously. It's a totally neglected profession," the president said.

The HND said in a press release that such assessments did not befit the head of state in a democratic society and that they were insulting to all journalists as well as an unacceptable generalisation of a public interest profession.

The HND said numerous governments were responsible for the "devastated" journalistic scene, including Milanović's when he was prime minister, during which the current law on the public broadcaster was adopted, which, the HND said, was having disastrous consequences.

The HND said that over the past 30 years journalists played an important role in uncovering numerous irregularities in society, and criticised the behaviour of the president and the prime minister "in these moments of crisis."

The HND urged Milanović to just answer questions from the press, without belittling and vilifying, reminding him that in his inauguration speech he underlined the importance of protecting and promoting the independence of the media.

The HND reiterated its call on all office holders to just answer questions from the press.

Friday, 13 August 2021

HND, SNH Slam Sacking of Two Reporters and Cameraman at Local TV Station

ZAGREB, 13 Aug 2021 - The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) and the Croatian Journalists' Trade Union (SNH) on Friday condemned the decision of the owner of the Televizija Šibenik on the extraordinary dismissal without prior notice of two journalists and a television camera operator.

Addressing a news conference the HND leader Hrvoje Zovko said that journalists were "fed up with local power-mongers who tailor local media coverage" and compared the case of TV Šibenik with the recent developments in the Pula-based Glas Istre newspaper in which some reporters were fired.

Zovko strongly condemned the move of the TV Šibenik owner Stipe Grcić to bar one of the dismissed reporters -- Lucija Cvitan -- from entering the broadcaster's premises, and pointed out a label put on the door of the editorial room reading that Cvitan is "a persona non grata".

Zovko and Cvitan told today's news conference that this label was particularly disparaging and the European Federation of Journalists would be informed of this action of the media outlet's owner, if he failed to remove it immediately.

The HND chief said that the actions of Grcić and the TV Šibenik were scandalous, particularly having in mind the fact that the media outlet was partly funded from the state budget.

Zovko added that they had sent a request to Grcić last night to give his comment on the case but he had not sent any response until the start of the news conference.

Cvitan said that before being sacked she had not received any notice. I sent an e-mail asking or amending my employment contract for June. The reply sent after that was that I was no longer an employee of the TV Šibenik, she said adding that after that the disparaging label appeared on the editorial room.

"I want the stain to be removed from my name. I have have worked conscientiously," said Cvitan.

The other sacked reporter, Ivana Bulat, was fired during her sick leave.

The SNH leader Maja Sever said that the key to such problems appearing in local media outlets would be the conclusion of collective agreements regulating all the rights and entitlements of journalists.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 3 May 2021

World Press Freedom Day: SNH Warns of Worsening Situation for Journalists

May 3, 2021 - The Croatian Journalists' Union (SNH) marked World Press Freedom Day on Monday with a symbolic campaign called "Five Minutes of Deafening Silence" drawing attention to the worsening working and professional status of journalists and problems faced by local media. 

Problems in the media sector and pressure on journalists have been increasing for years across the world and have been exacerbated by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the SNH said in a statement.

It noted that work from home was threatening to become a permanent informal and insecure form of work for journalists, restricting their working and professional rights.

The Croatian media sector is facing a series of problems - a media strategy that has been talked about for years has not been adopted yet and the existing legislation is full of shortcomings and needs to be made more specific to ensure the role of the media in a democratic society and prevent political control, the statement said, citing the Media Act and the Croatian Radio and Television Act.

Citing a report by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, the SNH said that the Croatian public broadcasting service HRT was left over to the ruling majority to interfere in its personnel policy and decision making.

The SNH also stressed the need to change the Electronic Media Act to stop the rise in hate speech and attacks on journalists, as well as the Criminal Code, which public and political figures use to bring hundreds of defamation charges against journalists.

According to this year's survey by the Croatian Journalists Association (HND), at least 924 lawsuits have been brought against Croatian media outlets and journalists seeking as much as HRK 78.5 million in damages, which is HRK 10 million more compared with a similar survey conducted in 2020. The actual number of lawsuits is believed to be higher.

"We can speak of more than 1,000 lawsuits and can say that in Croatia there is a shameful culture of taking journalists to court to exhaust them financially and discourage them professionally," HND president Hrvoje Zovko said.

To read more about news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

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.


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 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.

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 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 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 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.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Journalists' Union: Employers Using the Pandemic as an Excuse to Reduce the Rights

ZAGREB, Sept 26, 2020 - Employers in the media sector are using the pandemic as an excuse to reduce the rights of journalists and media workers, it was said on Saturday at a meeting of the Journalists' Union of Croatia (SNH).

Such conditions emphasize the need for union action, said SNH head, Maja Sever.

According to her, employers have lately been shifting coronavirus-related business difficulties to employees, whose salaries have not improved despite savings made by working from home.

She said that the situation in the local media was "catastrophic", which was especially felt by freelance journalists and contract workers.

Sever said that the main task of the trade union was to ensure the signing of collective agreements that protected the interests of workers in addition to the Labour Act and to make a branch collective agreement at the national level, which the union had been trying to do for years without success.

She said that the SNH would advocate changes to the "outdated media legislation" which "does not recognize modern models of work at all."

Some of the problems mentioned at the meeting include wage cuts disproportionate to the drop in revenue, reporters not receiving compensation for commuting expenses despite going on assignments, and no financial compensation for job expenses incurred by working at home.

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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, 26 May 2020

Plenkovic: No Way Anyone Monitors Journalists' Correspondence

ZAGREB, May 26, 2020 -  Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Tuesday rejected claims that reporters' correspondence was being monitored, underscoring that there is no way that that could even be thought of.

"I deny that in the strongest terms," Plenkovic said in Vrgorac when asked to comment on a statement by Environment Minister Tomislav Coric at a press conference earlier in the day related to a memorandum between INA and JANAF, when Coric called out N1 TV reporter Hrvoje Kresic for his writing in a reporters' social network group.

Coric said that from Kresic's work and messages in the group, it was evident that he was not happy with the appointment of INA's management board.

"No one in the government or anyone else can or must have any insight into anyone's correspondence, especially between journalists," said Plenkovic.

Plenkovic described the memorandum of understanding between INA and JANAF as protecting the government's national interests in INA.

"INA is one of our largest companies. It is also very important for energy independence and generally for the economy. It is key that consultants will present their preliminary estimates and evaluation around 10 June and after that we can decide further," he said.

Commenting on a statement by Social Democratic Party leader Davor Bernardic that the memorandum was a "betrayal of national interests," Plenkovic said that Bernardic is an immature politician who, with his conduct, disqualifies himself for any serious position in state institutions.

Plenkovic added that the government was aware that Janaf and INA had signed the memorandum and that Minister Coric informed the public in detail about that today.

The President who may not go to the polls is degrading yet another important institution - the State Prosecutor's Office

Asked by reporters about the newly appointed chief state prosecutor, Prime Minister Plenkovic said that she (Zlata Hrvoj Sipek) was appointed today in the parliament following a public call for applications that was advertised by the State Prosecutorial Council.

"We interviewed all six candidates. Based on the programme she presented and her experience, she has worked in the State Prosecutor's Office for more than 25 years, has enormous professional experience, knows the system well, she knows what needs to be done in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and I expect that, in line with that, she will continue the work of that important institution," he said and added that he considers her to be the right choice considering the other candidates.

Plenkovic reacted to claims by President Milanovic that she was the prime minister's choice for the chief state prosecutor.

"She was the choice of the government' and the parliamentary majority," Plenkovic underlined.

"Seeing that this is not someone who has come from outside the state prosecution system, I think that it is bad that the president, who said that he might not vote in the parliamentary election, is now degrading yet another important institution, and that is the State Prosecutor's Office," Plenkovic concluded.