Thursday, 3 February 2022

Exposure of Female Athletes in Croatian Media: Can We Do More?

February 3, 2022 - Croatia has had unbelievable success in multiple sports since independence, regardless of funding, the size of the country, and various other factors. Football comes to mind, handball, water polo, and many more. However, some of the biggest success Croatia has ever had was achieved by female athletes. Why do we hear so little about them and can we do more? A look at the exposure of female athletes in Croatian media.

The number 4. It symbolizes a lot of things in the world: Marvel comic book heroes Fantastic Four, four sides of the world, Croatian band Four Aces (4 Asa), four medals Janica Kostelić won in the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City in 2002 and so much more. However, besides this last great achievement number four represents for Croatian sports history, it also displays an abysmal percentage of media coverage of female sports in Croatian media. A

According to the analysis “Equality Between Men and Women in Sports Programs of Audiovisual Media”, conducted by Electronic Media Agency in 2019, across the three major TV stations (HTV, RTL, NOVA TV), the majority of media coverage (during sports news) is spent on men’s football, and men’s sport, in general, takes over 80 percent of the informative sports news. It dominates on commercial TV stations like RTL and NOVA TV. This sample is taken over three months in 2016, where they analyzed over two and a half hours of news footage. The agency also included other factors like female athlete speeches during informative sport news, which amounted to around six percent. After football, the most represented sports are basketball and tennis. Although in modest proportion, news about female athletes and their successes is still present. Television reports and articles that are dedicated to “unrepresented” sports like gymnastics, alpine skiing, archery, and athletics, have female athletes, however, they are always reported with men.

The only time female athletes are covered in the media is when the “miracle run” happens; e.g., Croatia women's handball team winning the bronze medal at Euros in 2020, or a Croatian female athlete becomes an internet sensation because of her beauty e.g., Antonija Mišura in the London Olympics in 2012.

The Electronic Media Agency also forwarded a survey with two main questions to sport federations and media representatives: “Do you think that women's sport in Croatia is sufficiently represented in the informative program of Croatian electronic media” and “What should happen or improve to make women's sport more represented in electronic media? Where do you see the problem and the possibility for improvement?”.

In conclusion, all sport federations agree on a few things. The amount of women’s sports content on their official social media and websites is almost equal to men’s but the media is not trying enough to do the same. Oversexualizing news about female athletes is, unfortunately, a common thing - emphasis on the looks, the way they dress, who are their partners, and more. Furthermore, no television coverage, e.g. Croatia women’s handball team didn’t have TV coverage for most Croatian viewers during their incredible run at European Championship in 2020, until they reached the semifinals of the tournament. Most of the women’s sports games are aired during night as replays, which is still not good enough. In their response to the survey, they also emphasized the effort they are putting in making women’s sports more popular in Croatia and sent a message to the media to start covering female athletes in an appropriate manner.

On the other hand, media representatives agree with sports federation pleas but also express their obstacles in doing proper media coverage for women’s sports. Particularly, the market trends in the media sphere. They have statistics and parameters that show distinctly more hits and clicks on articles about men’s sports, in this case, football. Also, the situation in other countries is not better - there are struggles as well in reporting women’s sports news. In the end, media representatives still feel like they could do a lot more in informing the Croatian public about successes their female athletes achieve and hope, with the support of other institutions and Croatians will, that the future is bright for reporting about women in sports.

How can we, as the media, make sports events and news more diverse, interesting, and appealing for everyone? How can we expand the interests of Croatians to female sports as well? Again, the question from the beginning of the article is - can we do more? Yes, but we cannot do it alone. It is well known that Croatia has incomparably fewer money investments in sports than other countries in Europe and if it isn’t for our amazing athletes' will and passion, we would not be where we are now. Croatia still doesn’t have appropriate marketing campaigns for women's sports nor regulations which would encourage more media coverage.

Nevertheless, journalists and media also need to do better. Oversexualizing every aspect of female athletes and bigotry through Croatian media probably won’t go anywhere soon but with future regulations and by joint efforts with other sports and governing institutions, the media atmosphere will be much more favorable for female athletes.

If we can celebrate them when they are on top of the world, we can at least give them a platform to show them that there are people who care and support them regardless they are best or not. These surveys studies showed that every representative in Croatian sports media and sports itself know about the issue. The talk is in progress and slowly but surely the act is in motion. We can start here.

 To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

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.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

EFJ Annual Meeting 2021: Journalists' Issues to be Discussed in Zagreb

October 6, 2021 - The EFJ Annual Meeting 2021 comes to Zagreb to discuss European, local and global media freedom, as well as journalists' safety. Established on December 18, 1910, The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) is one of the oldest professional associations in modern Croatia.

As expected, it is older than the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) that was established in 1994, but then again, as expected, the EFJ (being multinational) holds a much stronger position when addressing the typical troubles journalists face.

The two associations collaborate really well, as is evident in EFJ's support to HND in condemning Croatian PM Andrej Plenković who is also the president of the right-centre Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). As TCN informed in June, Plenković attacked the press, accusing them of being paid to vilify and smear HDZ candidates.

After the event being postponed in May 2020, both HND and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (SNH) will host the EFJ annual meeting in Zagreb on October 8-9. This year's edition of the meeting will go with a theme titled ''Better Protecting Journalists''.

''The topics include enhancing the protection of journalists across Europe, pressures on media in the region, the prosecution of journalists and journalist associations in Belarus, and rescuing journalists from Afghanistan. The two-day assembly will be held at the Journalists' Home and gather over one hundred respected journalists, the president of the journalists' organisation and syndicates from all over Europe, as well as distinguished guests,'' says HND on its website.

The open part of the assembly will have two panels.

The first one, entitled ''Pressures on journalists and media in the region'' is where the Journalist Security Index will be presented. The Index has four categories: the legal and administrative frame and context of journalistic work, attack preventions, investigations and legal actions taken against journalists and procedures in case of an attack on a journalist.

It will be interesting to see the newest results because, as TCN wrote earlier, while media liberties deteriorate in the rest of the world, Croatia actually saw quite some progress.

The second open panel is a round table entitled ''Journalism in the time of polarisation''.

''The opening remarks to the representatives of the press association will be given by Croatian President Zoran Milanović, Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek (who will also do so on behalf of Croatian PM Andrej Plenković), and IFJ President Mogens Blicher. SNH President Maja Sever, HND President Hrvoje Zovko and President of the Belarus Journalists' Association Andrei Bastunets, will all also be present,'' announced HND.

When it comes to Croatia, as TCN wrote, the main issue in this regard is currently lawsuits, particularly SLAPP lawsuits, which are ''strategic'' lawsuits (meaning they're unfounded or exaggerated) and aimed at intimidating and silencing those who ask questions of public interest.

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

For more about the Croatian Journalists' Association, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Parliamentary Committee Endorses Bills on Copyright, Electronic Media

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian Parliament's Information and Media Committee on Tuesday endorsed the Copyright and Related Rights Bill and the Electronic Media Bill after debating copyright protection and user comments.

Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said the biggest contribution of the Copyright Bill was that it eliminated legal uncertainties concerning exceptions and restrictions.

It ensures a broader approach to protected content as well as equitable compensation for stakeholders in the digital environment.

The bill regulates in more detail the rights of news publishers and defines the copyright generated within the collective protection system.

The bill also regulates content aggregators such as Facebook and Google, proposing that part of the revenue they generate from the content goes to news publishers and journalists.

As for the relationship between phonogram producers and performers, the minister said the proposed solution recognised performers as the weaker party and aimed to improve their position without endangering phonogram producers' business, she added.

Regarding the relationship between news publishers and aggregators which use their content for free, resulting in losses for both publishers and journalists, the bill regulates a collective exercise of their rights to ensure a better position for them.

The minister said the bill defined journalistic work as copyright work for the first time with the aim to strengthen the position of journalists and protect their work. In doing so, she added, one must not mix areas regulated by the media law and those regulated by the copyright law.

The amendments to the Electronic Media Act oblige media to transparently declare their ownership and sources of financing. As for user comments, users will have to register so that they are accountable, instead of publishers, if their comments break the law.

Independent MP Nino Raspudić said the bill stipulated what one was allowed to love and hate and that several articles introduced gender identity.

The minister said he was telling untruths and that Croatia was a democratic state in which no one censored anyone and no one was fined for stating their views.

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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