Sunday, 3 May 2020

Culture Ministry: Media Freedom Is Foundation of Every Democracy

ZAGREB, May 3, 2020 - On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, observed on 3 May, Croatia's culture ministry underscored the importance of freedom of media as a pillar of each democratic society which is supposed to provide conditions for unobstructed and safe work of journalists.

This year, World Press Freedom Day, is marked in specific circumstances in which we evaluate in a particular way the role of media in the society, the ministry said in a press release on Sunday.

Accurate, true and timely reporting in accordance with the media freedoms in times of crisis represents a pillar for each individual and for the whole society, the ministry said.

Without the role of independent and free media in checking the information and without trust which the general public has in the media system, one cannot imagine the prevention of dissemination of fake news and disinformation in the world full of easy to access information, the source of which is unknown, said the ministry.

Unfortunately, media outlets are hard hit by the consequences of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore the ministry will undertake additional measures to provide support to reporters, and publishers.

The ministry recalls on its web site that on 17 March, Croatia's government adopted a series of measures to assist the cultural sector in order to minimise the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are aware that the crisis has affected all levels of society – economic as cultural, public as private, so by various measures we try to cover all segments of the cultural sector, emphasizing above all the spirit of solidarity and community as the foundation of a just and democratic society," Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek was quoted as saying.

"The measures are intended to cover all artists and cultural workers who, in these moments of crisis which full reach is difficult to predict, lose their ability to act, and whose social and economic status is fundamentally threatened. We want to ease the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, but also the recent earthquake that has additionally threatened the cultural and artistic field, one of the most vulnerable segments of the society,” said the minister.

More journalism news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Fair Compensation for Online Art Must Be Provided

ZAGREB, April 16, 2020 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek has alerted the international cultural and creative industries community of the vulnerable status of freelance artists in the current crisis caused by the coronavirus, saying that new applications will be invited for grants to artists sharing their art online.

The Croatian minister on Wednesday participated in the first in a series of virtual debates organised jointly by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and UNESCO with the aim of bringing artists and governments together to discuss ways of facing the consequences of the coronavirus crisis in the cultural and creative sectors.

"We have raised some issues concerning the vulnerability of artists' status, the need for copyright protection, as well as... possible alternative ways to distribute and take part in culture while the restrictive measures are in force, but also how we will return to making art and participating in it after the measures are relaxed," she said after the discussion.

Obuljen Koržinek said that none of the stakeholders in the culture sector were ready for the current crisis but noted that there was a big difference between countries that have developed culture policies and those that have no support systems for artists and culture. She noted that even countries with a long tradition of developed culture policies, like Croatia, recognised numerous weaknesses in their culture systems.

The minister especially referred to the vulnerability of freelance artists, stating that the most difficult problem at the moment was finding a way to help them.

All cultural events with large audiences will probably be restricted for quite a while, and all activities which were encouraged up to now, such as mobility, co-production, or artist exchanges, are impossible at the moment, and it is uncertain when the situation will normalise, she said.

Therefore, she underlined the great responsibility of governments, especially ministers in charge of culture, to adopt measures supporting artists who are unable to do their job due to the new circumstances.

Obuljen Koržinek also raised the question of the importance of improving the copyright system, especially at a time when public gatherings are banned and authors are sharing their work and cultural content free of charge.

The minister thanked all artists who share their artwork for free thus helping citizens to deal with the current situation better, and supported those who advocate for a fair compensation to all artists, authors and performers, in the digital environment.

The Croatian Culture Ministry is working on a new, ad hoc invitation for applications for support to provide at least some kind of compensation to those who share their cultural content online, the minister said.

This is the first time such a model is being made and additional time will be necessary to implement it, the minister said, adding that they needed to be certain that the measure will really help those who need it the most.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 10 April 2020

EU Culture Ministers Talk Measures Designed to Alleviate Impact of Coronavirus Crisis

ZAGREB, April 10, 2020 - EU culture ministers have held an informal video conference on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the cultural and creative sector and exchanged experience on the steps undertaken by their governments to fight the pandemic as well as proposals for action at the EU level.

The video conference, held at the proposal of Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, was attended by EC Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova, Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

Obuljen Koržinek said the debate showed that all member-countries had taken action to help artists, cultural institutions and companies in the cultural and creative industries in the current crisis when cultural projects are being cancelled or postponed.

She said the participants in the meeting also discussed the public's consumption of cultural content on various online platforms.

Commissioner Jourova said that the response to the crisis should be comprehensive and emphasised the importance of the media sector, professional work of journalists and the responsibility of the media to prevent fake news and disinformation.

Commissioner Breton spoke of the measures that had been introduced on the internal market and underlined the importance of media and the audio-visual industry, while Gabriel presented activities launched by European associations, member states and the European Commission in the cultural and creative sectors to minimise the negative consequences of the pandemic for citizens.

The meeting particularly underlined the need for a flexible approach to the beneficiaries of the Creative Europe programme.

The video conference was held on April 8 and the ministers will continue their discussion at the Council of the Ministers of Culture on May 19.

More news about coronavirus can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Artists, Freelancers Call for Help to Cope with Coronavirus Crisis

ZAGREB, March 15, 2020 - Over 1,300 cultural workers, most of whom are freelancers or independent authors in creative industries have to date signed an appeal for urgent assistance which they need to overcome the current situation caused by the outbreak of coronavirus.

Concerts and other cultural events are continually being cancelled or postponed in the country due to the outbreak of the virus, and such developments affect creative industries, notably freelancers and precariously employed professionals in that sector.

The appeal emphasises that in addition to a public health risk due to the spread of coronavirus, independent cultural workers are losing their livelihoods in the current situation.

The signatories also warn that although the situation concerning the public health can go back to normal until the end of April, the crisis in this cultural sector is likely to last until the autumn.

An additional problem is that a part of the sector has not yet recovered from the consequences of the teachers' strike in schools last autumn, when the distribution of contents for school children was also impossible, reads the appeal.

The signatories support a pan-European appeal for establishment of a fund for assistance to individual artists and art organisations in a bid to overcome this period marked by bans on public gatherings and cancellations of events.

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek has already promised that she will see to it that the government's measures to prop up businesses also include assistance for artists and creative industries to pass through this period as less painfully as possible.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Culture Minister: Heritage Is Our Most Important Resource

ZAGREB, February 27, 2020 - Heritage is our most important resource and we have to manage it wisely and rationally, as well as invest in it and protect it, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said in Dubrovnik on Thursday at the opening of an international conference on European cooperation in the protection of cultural heritage from risk.

Dubrovnik is the conference host because it is a symbol of coping with natural disasters and war, and today with a large number of visitors, Minister Obuljen Koržinek said.

The conference "Strengthening European Cooperation for the Protection of Cultural Heritage from Risk" is being held from 26 to 28 February in the organisation of the Ministry of Culture as one of Ministry's two central events during Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union.

"We have to realise that heritage is our most important resource, which we need to manage wisely and rationally, as well as invest in it and protect it. By doing that we will pass it on to future generations," Obuljen Koržinek said.

She also said that it was too soon to assess the effect of the novel coronavirus epidemic on culture tourism. "The situation is changing from day to day, but right now nothing indicates that we have to think about long-term restrictions. If we act responsibly, we will withstand the crisis. There is no room for panic. There has been a slowdown in tourism, cancellations of stays in Italy, but the situation will calm down," Koržinek said.

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković said that tourism growth was contributing to the influx of money, which was putting destinations under UNESCO protection at risk of urbanisation in order to maximise profit.

"Tourism is the main economic activity in Dubrovnik. As many as 80% of people live off tourism. That is why when adopting measures, we have to bear in mind that we cannot destroy tourism, but achieve sustainability with the aim of improving our citizens' quality of life," Franković said.

One of the priorities of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU in the field of culture is the protection of cultural heritage, especially risk management of cultural heritage. The European Union has also highlighted the field of cultural heritage as one of its priorities in the last decade.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020 - New Free Online Platform for Watching Films

ZAGREB, February 5, 2020 -, a new online platform where users can watch free of charge Croatian short films which more often than not go unnoticed after they appear at film festivals despite their quality, was presented on Wednesday in Zagreb.

The project developer is the Arts Organisation Zagreb Film Festival, which has published 118 films, as well as an array of accompanying texts, at The list is expected to expand significantly and to cover all film forms in the future.

The Executive Director of Zagreb Film Festival Hrvoje Laurenta said that the platform was established in order to return short films to the public space, particularly because Croatia had a highly-regarded short film production - the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) had co-financed almost 450 short films since its establishment.

Laurenta finds the fact that one could watch the films "anytime and anywhere" extremely important, just like the fact that the films were adapted to any device (mobile phones, tablets, computers, and TVs), and that domestic production's visibility would cross Croatian borders due to the fact that films had English subtitles and the accompanying texts had been translated to English.

"Although we have been working on the project for more than a year, we are only just beginning today. In the short term, we want to publish an even larger number of films and secure the platform's sustainability, and in due time we want it to become a referential and relevant basis of the whole of Croatian short, mid-length, and full-length film production. We hope that we could make it happen by the end of summer," stated Laurenta.

Except for films, the platform contains data bases on films themselves, film professionals and productions, and news, columns, interviews with "filmmakers of the week", a list of film festivals, and it also provides for the possibility to sign in and comment on the content.

The online platform is co-funded by the Ministry of Culture.

More film news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Culture Minister Presents Croatian EU Presidency Priorities in Brussels

ZAGREB, November 22, 2019 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek presented the priorities of the Croatian EU presidency relevant to her department at a meeting of the EU Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council in Brussels on Thursday.

Speaking to the Croatian press after the meeting, she said that during its EU presidency in the first half of next year Croatia would organise a conference on risk management in the conservation of cultural heritage.

"It is an important topic in the context of climate change and other risks to heritage. What has been going on in Venice in the last few days shows how important that is," Obuljen Koržinek said, referring to the flood threatening Venice.

Croatia will also organise a conference on media literacy, in late March or early April. "That is a topic for the future, how to teach young generations to use the media and social networks, to behave responsibly and become resilient to fake news," the minister said.

Also discussed during the Croatian EU presidency will be mobility in the cultural and creative sector.

Croatia has prepared a varied cultural programme that will be presented in the EU member states and other countries in the first half of 2020.

"The programme provides a very good overview of our rich heritage as well contemporary artistic content, including music, theatre and exhibitions. I believe we will use these six months well to bring Croatian culture closer to the public across the EU and in Brussels," Obuljen Koržinek said.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Croatian Culture Minister Attends UNESCO General Assembly Session

ZAGREB, November 19, 2019 - Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek addressed the 40th session of the UNESCO General Assembly in Paris on Monday, saying that on November 18 Croatia was paying tribute to the victims of the Homeland War in Vukovar, Škabrnja and elsewhere in the country and stressing that it was important to promote peace and tolerance as well as all values promoted by UNESCO.

Obuljen Koržinek said that Croatia supported the initiatives launched by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. She cited efforts being invested by Croatia in strategic reform and financial consolidation, adding that she expected progress in implementing measures aimed at ensuring freedom of speech and safety for journalists, the Culture Ministry said in a statement.

Obuljen Koržinek said that Croatia was committed to sharing its experience from the post-war reconstruction of cultural heritage and that it would support UNESCO's efforts in rebuilding the Iraqi city of Mosul.

She said that Croatia continued to promote education on the arts and cultural heritage through UNESCO's World Heritage in Young Hands project. She recalled that as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the Croatian UNESCO delegation hosted a European youth forum which brought together young professionals to promote education on world heritage.

The minister said that through the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar, Croatia was strongly promoting the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

She announced that next year, during its presidency of the Council of the European Union, Croatia would host a conference on risks in the management of world heritage properties, at which initiatives and projects by different organisations, including UNESCO, would be presented.

Obuljen Koržinek is also to attend a forum of culture ministers scheduled for November 19, which will discuss the contribution of culture to achieving sustainable development goals.

More news about Croatia and UNESCO can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

HND Leaves Task Force Working on Electronic Media Bill

ZAGREB, November 6, 2019 - The executive committee of the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Wednesday decided to leave the Ministry of Culture task force working on a bill on electronic media, the HND has reported.

The HND said that the ministry had not incorporated any of its proposals in the draft bill which the HND submitted to the ministry in late August after it had been presented with the working material in late July.

"We note that the HND entered the task force responsibly, in good faith and with the best intentions, expecting that we all had the same goal - to improve the media in Croatia in performing their democratic role in society," the HND said.

The HND considers that it is not good that after 15 years the ministry has decided, without having defined a media policy or adopted a new media law, to prepare only the bill on electronic media of all media-related laws.

"We regret that we were not included in the entire process of defining the content of comprehensive legislation and we are under the impression that decisions were adopted outside the task force," the HND noted.

The HND's most important proposals were to secure the independence of the Electronic Media Council and transparency in selecting its members, increase the financing of the fund promoting electronic media pluralism and diversity, and clearly define the fund's mission.

The HND proposed that the fund's resources be used exclusively to support quality media content and professional journalism, that the law incorporates the obligation to adopt statutes of editorial boards in electronic media, that abuse of public money for advertising be prevented and that the share of broadcasting licences for non-profit media be determined.

The HND underscored that the bill on electronic media was geared towards further commercialisation of the media and requested that priority be given to local media production, particularly by the Croatian Radio and Television public broadcaster.

In conclusion the HND noted that its proposals for the new bill were based on the association's document "Eight demands against censorship" that it had forwarded to the government during a protest rally by reporters earlier this year.

The HND decided to abandon the task force after Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Monday told a SEEMF media conference that the bill on electronic media would be put to public consultation in two to three weeks.

More news about the status of journalists in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Cultural Industry Important Innovation Driver

ZAGREB, October 25, 2019 - The cultural industry does not exist merely to entertain the public but is an important economic factor and driver of innovations, Belgium's Ambassador to Croatia Nicolaas Buyck said opening the b.creative conference on the creative industries on Friday in Zagreb.

That just goes to show that we are not always aware that the creative industry exists and that cultural and artistic talent are not just to entertain the public but are also an important economic factor that one can live off, he said.

The diplomat said that in Belgium the cultural industry does not only contribute to the economy but is also a driver of innovation and contributes to developing an engaged society.

He added that children are stimulated to be creative, however, when it comes to their future, their parents want them to become lawyers, doctors or managers and if children express a desire for some creative direction, their parents often are not too enthusiastic about that.

President of the Croatian Cluster of the Creative and Cultural Industry (HKKKKI) Ivana Nikolić Popović said that it was exceptionally important to protect human dignity in "today's simply capitalistic wilderness," and that it is exceptionally important to nurture, monitor, develop and stimulate the creative and cultural industry.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) president, Luka Burilović, said that companies and the state can be today divided into those who have realised the importance of creativity and those who rely on mass production and consumerism.

"We want creativity to be the foundation of our economy and to be recognisable in the world as a country of innovation and the creative, cultural industry will certainly have an important role in that," Burilović underscored.

He explained that the creative industry in the European Union comprises as many as 353 industries that created almost 30 percent of all jobs in the EU from 2014 to 2016.

He added that of a total of 216 million people employed, 63 million are employed in the creative industry.

"That industry in Croatia employs more than 124,000 people, mostly highly-educated, qualified people and that is why salaries in those industries are noticeably higher compared to other industries," said Burilović.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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