Monday, 29 July 2019

PM, Culture Minister Attend Lazareti Project Conference in Dubrovnik

ZAGREB, July 29, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković participated in Dubrovnik on Sunday in the final conference of the 33.8 million kuna "Lazareti Project - The Creative District of Dubrovnik", in which the EU participated with 26 million kuna.

Plenković said the renovated Lazareti neighbourhood would contribute to Dubrovnik's rich cultural offer and give a new dimension to the many associations that would operate on its premises.

"I'm especially pleased the project was co-financed with European Union funds... Absorbing European funds was a necessary step for Dubrovnik because the EU gives added value to the renovation and promotion of the cultural heritage," he said.

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said the associations that would be based at Lazareti were key for the cultural life of Dubrovnik all year round. She underlined the importance of EU funding for "the sustainable management of our heritage," saying her ministry would make a big step forward in applying for the money.

The Lazareti Project is aimed at enhancing the management of Dubrovnik's cultural heritage and expanding the city's cultural and tourism products.

For centuries, the Lazareti district served as the quarantine station of the Dubrovnik Republic. The district was built from 1627 to 1643.

More Dubrovnik news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Developing Media Literacy Best Way to Fight Fake News

ZAGREB, May 24, 2019 - Several dozen fake profiles on social networks systematically release fake news toward the European Union and the best way to fight against that phenomenon is to strengthen media literacy among citizens, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Thursday in Brussels.

Minister Obuljen Koržinek attended a meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council and one of the topics discussed was the fight against fake information. The debate was held within the framework of preparations of a report on the lessons learned with regard to the fight against disinformation, which is being prepared by the Romanian chairmanship in cooperation with the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for a meeting of the European Council in June.

"During the debate the ministers presented concrete examples of dozens of fake profiles that have millions of views and who systematically release fake news and which are usually removed by self-regulation by social networks," Obuljen Koržinek said.

The main conclusion during the debate, she said, was that with the appearance of social networks, various anonymous sources have emerged that release false news with a very big reach and with full respect for the freedom of expression and independence of the media, it is necessary to continue with those measures that the EU has launched - to develop an instrument to check facts, spread information about the source of fake news and continue support large networks in implementing their rules of conduct.

"Some truly concerning data was presented about the number of sources who have been proven to have been releasing fake news and have an unbelievable reach. Media literacy was underlined as an essential competency that will enable youth and all our citizens to strengthen their resilience, to learn how to recognise fake news and all that was debated in the context of the European election but also the big risk for democratic processes overall," she said.

Asked whether sources of fake news had been detected in Croatia, she said that there had not been any concrete examples yet but holds that that will begin to occur soon.

She added that some EU member states advocate staying within the current system according to which social networks fight against fake news through self-regulation and that is the approach that Croatia has while on the other hand some states are seeking regulation and penalties.

She added that social networks are not incorporated in media legislation and that this is a question of in whose remit this is.

Obuljen Koržinek said that she had informed her counterparts of what Croatia had done with regard to fake news from "soft" measure like Media Literacy Day, which is held every year and reaches a large number of citizens, particularly youth and measures under which the Council for Electronic Media has established a system that monitors the transparency of advertising.

A strategic project is being prepared and will be developed through an initiative of the electronic media council that will check facts and a contact point at the state government level has been established to share information about disinformation, she added.

More news about media in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Culture Minister Receives US Holocaust Memorial Museum Official

ZAGREB, March 8, 2019 - Robert Williams, the Deputy Director of International Affairs at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, said that his impressions during his visit to Croatia were positive and that significant progress had been made in addressing issues concerning the Holocaust, the Culture Ministry said in a press release on Friday after Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek met the US official.

Williams was quoted as saying that the aim of his visit to Croatia, as a representative of an independent organisation of the U.S. Administration which deals with the Holocaust and education about that period of history, was to offer assistance to the Croatian government and the civil sector in dealing with issues concerning the Holocaust and its victims, reads the press release.

In the context of education about the Holocaust, the minister pointed out the efforts of the government and relevant departments to ensure that visits to the Jasenovac Memorial Centre were part of the obligatory curriculum. Visits to Vukovar and Jasenovac would provide a very strong message to young people that crime and suffering can happen to anyone at any time.

The minister said that the Jasenovac Memorial Museum exhibition should be updated with emphasis on historical evidence, victims and their suffering, and perpetrators of crimes.

She said it would be valuable to set up cooperation with international experts for the purpose of exchanging good practice and optimal research methodologies.

Williams, who also represents the US at the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA), supported such approach.

In this context he advocated research including international experts who would have access to all necessary archival materials, including those taken away from Croatia and not returned during the process of succession to the former Yugoslavia.

Williams invited Croatian experts to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, saying that the focus of this museum was being expanded to include all groups of victims of the Nazi and totalitarian regimes.

Concerning the issue of raising awareness of the consequences of the Holocaust, the minister recalled that in a bid to encourage the development of a culture of remembrance, the Croatian government has established a council to deal with the consequences of undemocratic regimes.

She said that the council had adopted a document with a set of guidelines and that this paper was the first Croatian official document to include the internationally adopted definition of anti-Semitism, which Williams welcomed.

Obuljen Koržinek briefed Williams about a series of activities her ministry was undertaking to protect the Jewish heritage in Croatia, which represents a valuable element of the entire Croatian national heritage.

She informed him about the new law on archives, and he reassured her that the organisations he represents will help Croatia to gain free access to the archival material seized from Croatia.

More news on the historical issues stemming from the Second World War can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Government Not Pressuring Croatian Media, Says Government

ZAGREB, February 7, 2019 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Thursday the Croatian media were independent, press freedoms guaranteed, and that the government did not exert pressure on the media.

She was asked by the press ahead of a cabinet meeting to comment on European Federation of Journalists secretary general Ricardo Gutierrez's statement that the situation in Croatia with regard to political influence on the media was the worst in the European Union.

"I think that's not true. You work, you know you are independent, that press freedoms are guaranteed in Croatia," the minister said, adding that "the phenomenon of lawsuits against journalists and media is not in the remit of media legislation... and it should be discussed."

"We absolutely stand by the basic media legislation postulates. The media are independent and neither the government nor anyone from the government is exerting pressure on the media."

She dismissed a journalist's remark that Croatia was falling in international rankings by the year and that the situation was deteriorating, saying the data differed and that there were no such pressures in Croatia. "We will work on enhancing media legislation together with associations and other partners."

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković rejected claims that there was no freedom in Croatia, when asked to comment on claims by the Croatian Journalists' Association suggesting that there were over 1,000 court cases against journalists and the media in the country.

"To say today that there is no media freedom in Croatia means that the person making this claim is neither reading the papers, listening to the radio nor watching TV," Plenković said.

The prime minister stressed that according to Freedom House, Croatia was a free country with free media and free media ownership structure.

Stressing that Croatia's Penal Code envisages a possibility of defamation, slander and libel suits, Plenković said that according to information he received from the justice minister, 85% if such cases end with an acquittal.

More news on the media freedom in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

No More Cuts! Initiative Protests against Culture Funds Allocation

ZAGREB, February 5, 2019 - The No More Cuts! initiative, unhappy with the allocation of Culture Ministry funds, staged a protest outside the ministry on Monday and outlined their demands to Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, who invited their representatives to talks, but they did not show up.

"We are asking that the culture budget be increased to 3%. We demand that the work of cultural councils be public, based on clear criteria and explanations of the decisions adopted," the initiative representatives said.

They said they also wanted to shatter the public perception of the field of culture as a hotbed of "idlers" and "sinecurists", adding that surveys showed that more than half of the country's artists and culture workers could not live off their work.

"That's why we are asking for conditions in which artists and culture workers can live off their work. We are asking for safety at work and social welfare," they said, adding that they had also had it with "shameful working conditions and insecure types of work which bring short term and uncertain project financing."

They are also asking for public financing of non-profit media as a space for investigative and critical journalism which, they said works in the public interest.

Minister says culture budget has risen by 300 million kuna since 2016

Minister Obuljen Koržinek told reporters she invited the initiative's representatives to talks to see what cuts they were referring to. "In this government's term, since 2016, the Culture Ministry budget has been increased by about 300 million kuna," she said, adding that this included original and European funds and that the increase in original funds was about 100 million kuna.

"For this year we announced the adoption of a new law on financing and a new law on cultural councils, which is a prerequisite for any serious reform of the financing system. We also envisaged the adoption of a new law on artists and artistic activity," the minister added.

She recalled that three new calls had been advertised for projects to be financed from the European Social Fund in the amount of 90 million kuna.

She also recalled that non-profit media were financed via the Electronic Media Agency from the media pluralism fund.

As for the status of artists, the minister recalled that, under this government, all public lending right debts had been paid and continued financing of artists' copyrights had been ensured.

Obuljen Koržinek said she could not accept claims that cuts were being made and that this could easily be verified, reiterating that funding had been increased in all activities.

She said the No More Cuts! initiative did not take into account all of the Culture Ministry's financing, including 70 million kuna in programme funds for all public institutions founded by the ministry.

More news on Croatia’s culture policies can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Croatian Culture Minister Meets with Serbian Counterpart

ZAGREB, January 28, 2019 - Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Monday met with her Serbian counterpart Vladan Vukosavljević, who was taking part in a commemorative event at the invitation of the Serb National Council, and the two ministers talked about cultural cooperation and restitution of Croatian cultural objects, the ministry said in a press release.

The two ministers concurred that the long-standing process of restitution of Croatian cultural assets is nearing a completion.

From 2001 to 2018, more than 29,885 moveable cultural objects were returned to museums, churches, monasteries and archives while the remaining artefacts yet to be returned mostly belong to the Krk and Šibenik Serb Orthodox monasteries, the ministry said.

The talks also focused on a Croatian-Serbian combined government committee for minorities which is scheduled to convene its eighth meeting in Zagreb in February.

The ministers commended the good cooperation within the framework of the Southeast European Advisory Board with emphasis on cooperation in strengthening a culture for sustainable development, the importance of museums in society, their role in protecting and promoting cultural wealth and of their role in promoting cultural and social diversity.

The next meeting of southeast European cultural ministers is schedule for April in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.

The ministers assessed that good cooperation existed within the framework of China+16 initiative.

The two ministers commended bilateral cooperation involving the exchange of visiting theatre companies as well as developing cultural and literary cooperation between Croatian and Serbia.

The ministers also discussed the preparation of a cultural cooperation programme based on a bilateral agreement and possible exchange of certain modern art exhibitions, the ministry concluded.

More news on the cultural policy in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Croatian Culture Minister Discusses Creative Europe Programme

ZAGREB, November 28, 2018 - European Union culture ministers on Tuesday discussed progress in the drafting of the Creative Europe programme for the 2021-27 period which includes support for culture, audiovisual sectors and media and for which the European Commission has proposed a 1.46 billion euro budget.

Creative Europe programme covers culture and media, putting greater emphasis on the spreading of media literacy and quality journalism.

Speaking to reporters, Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said disinformation in media and media literacy raised questions in the member states of how to act through legislation, how to encourage quality media and quality journalism, and how to develop citizens' competencies for recognising inappropriate behaviour.

She said it was too early to say how much money would be allocated in the next multiannual framework.

Speaking of fake news and disinformation, she said solving this issue was "very important for creating and preserving trust in democratic institutions. "Many states are openly saying that fake news from outside the EU are being released on their territory. Baltic countries and Poland mentioned very clearly today the involvement of their eastern neighbour in the release of fake news."

She said Croatia's new electronic media law would oblige electronic publications to state their sources much more clearly.

She said Croatia and other EU member states were making efforts to create a regulatory framework for equitable compensation for artists, journalists and everyone creating content. She called claims that this would mean the death of free Internet as "typical disinformation," saying such regulations would primarily apply to big platforms such as Google and Facebook.

For more on the journalism in Croatia, click here.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Former Culture Minister Pleads Not Guilty to Misusing Budget Funds

ZAGREB, September 24, 2018 - Former culture minister Andrea Zlatar Violić of the Croatian People's Party (HNS) pleaded not guilty to the misuse of budget funds for covering her private bills at the start of her trial before Zagreb County Court on Monday.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Croatia and China Discuss Culture Cooperation

ZAGREB, September 21, 2018 - Croatia's Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Koržinek and her Chinese counterpart Luo Shugang met on Thursday in Dubrovnik on the margins of a "China + 16" ministerial conference for the talks on the continuation of successful bilateral cooperation in the area of culture between the two countries.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Croatia Signs EU Copyright Declaration

ZAGREB, September 12, 2018 - Croatia's Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Wednesday signed a declaration by the EU ministers of culture regarding the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, the ministry said in a press release.

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