Saturday, 16 October 2021

Croatian Book Month Kicks Off in City Library in Požega

ZAGREB, 16 Oct, 2021 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek formally opened this year's Croatian Book Month in the renovated and updated city library in the town of Požega on Friday.

In 2021, the Croatian Book Month, which takes place across Croatia from 15 October to 15 November, includes 218 participants and over 1,600 programmes. Most of the participants are school libraries and libraries in the local communities as well as museums, publishing companies and associations.

The main programme is the online national quiz to encourage reading, which is being held under the slogan "Six Authors Seek a Reader".

During the ceremony in Požega, Minister Obuljen Koržinek recalled that this year, 100 million kuna (€13.3 million) was allocated for book and reading promotion. The outlays for this purpose are being distributed to all those who participate in the chain of making a book and for reading encouragement.

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Saturday, 18 September 2021

51st Varaždin Baroque Evenings Festival Begins

ZAGREB, 18 Sept, 2021 - The 51st Varaždin Baroque Evenings festival began in Varaždin on Friday with a concert by the Slovenian Baroque Orchestra musica cubicularis, performed in the city cathedral.

This year's partner country is Slovenia. The festival, closing on 29 September, will feature 33 concerts and 11 accompanying events under the title Total Baroque.

In her address at the opening ceremony, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said she was pleased that Slovenia was the partner country this year because, like Croatia, it nurtured the tradition of performing Baroque music on original instruments.

She said many valuable projects had been launched and completed in the City of Varaždin and Varaždin County over the past five years, including the relocation of the city library and the reconstruction of the city theatre's concert hall.

"We have also been talking about a new financial envelope and possibilities of utilising some very valuable heritage localities in the county for tourism," the minister said.

The festival is being held under the auspices of President Zoran Milanović, whose envoy at the opening was his culture advisor Zdravko Zima.

"I think it's high time that we who are here in Southeast Europe and who live in this part of the world stop building walls and start building bridges," he said, adding that culture, the natural link between Slovenian and Croatian musicians, was such a bridge.

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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.

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Tuesday, 3 August 2021

AEPO-ARTIS: Croatia Making Position of Performing Artists Difficult

ZAGREB, 3 Aug, 2021 - AEPO-ARTIS, a non-profit organisation that represents over 650 performing artists, has sent a letter to the Croatian culture minister criticising Croatia for being late with the adoption of new copyright legislation and missing a deadline for the implementation of two EU directives, the Croatian Musicians Union said on Tuesday.

The organisation said that the implementation of the Copyright Directive and the Directive on online transmissions and retransmissions was being delayed because Croatia was late with the adoption of the new Copyright and Related Rights Act.

The letter, signed by AEPO-ARTIS secretary general Ioan Kaes, says that the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap between the growth of profit by online giants and individual artists because the latter do not participate in the fair distribution of this turnover.

The situation is particularly dramatic because in the new business circumstances the turnover of online platforms has become a dominant source of income for the music industry. For over a year and a half, performing artists have been denied their basic source of income - live performances, while at the same time the use and turnover of their recordings increased and performers could not enjoy their rights equally with others. Although their works still reach wide online audiences, artists receive small or no remuneration for them, according to the letter.

The institute of performers' inalienable right to remuneration is not incorporated into the proposal for the new Copyright and Related Rights Act, and under the proposal, record companies would be given an additional three years to adjust their business. This would allow Croatian record companies to continue their unfair and unethical practice of blackmailing performing artists and not paying them for the performances that have been used by online services for years, the letter said.

AEPO-ARTIS concluded by saying that introducing the inalienable right to remuneration, which artists would be able to exercise through their collective management organisations, is the best, if not the only, solution that guarantees that artists receive appropriate and proportionate remuneration for their work.

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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Documents Confiscated From Dubrovnik Archives Returned

ZAGREB, 23 June, 2021 - Documents that were confiscated from the Dubrovnik State Archives and were found in the Salzburg Diocese Archives were handed over on Wednesday in the presence of Croatia's Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek and Croatia's Ambassador to Austria Danijel Glunčić.

The operation ended successfully with the return of Croatia's cultural heritage, Minister Obuljen Koržinek said, noting this isn't the first or last time this has been done.

Ambassador Glunčić underscored that the Salzburg Diocese had full understanding that the medieval documents could not be considered to be part of Austria's or Salzburg's history.

The documents involved are two pontifical documents which the diocese was immediately prepared to return to Croatia, and this was also approved by Austria's state authorities, he said, adding that the documents will be placed in Dubrovnik's Archives.

Police working on issues related to cultural heritage

Police Director Nikola Milina said that the police were working on cultural heritage issues, adding that they have had good results so far.

A soon as the information was released, the Croatian police contacted the police in Austria and the documents were quickly identified which led to them being returned, he said.

Digitalisation to facilitate return of other missing documents

Director of Dubrovnik State Archives Nikolina Pozniak is convinced that digitisation will contribute to other documents that have gone missing from the archives and other institutions to be returned.

The head of the archive's collection, Zoran Perović, explained that the documents returned today are two pontifical bulls dated 1189 and 1252. The first notes that the Pope is deploying Archbishop Bernard to Dubrovnik while the other bull refers to the appointment of an archbishop to be a judge in a dispute between the Bar and Dubrovnik Archdioceses.

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Friday, 7 May 2021

Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek: Concept of HRT Management Inaugurated During Zoran Milanović's Premiership

ZAGREB, 7 May (Hina) - Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Friday that she was shocked by President Zoran Milanović's attack on the HRT public broadcaster, adding that she had always stood up for press freedom.

"The government has no ambition whatsoever to influence any media outlet in Croatia. Quite the contrary, I believe that we strengthen democracy and all the values in society if we try to ensure conditions for reporters to do their job professionally and without any pressure," Obuljen Koržinek said after a ceremony of opening a library in the town of Delnice.

She condemned Milanović's statements in which he attacked an HRT correspondent in Split, refusing to answer her questions and saying that the HRT was not a public broadcaster but was serving the interests of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

"I think that Milanović is the last person who can call out anybody," Obuljen Koržinek said, stressing that the concept and legislative framework for the HRT management had been inaugurated during his term as prime minister.

She went on to say that in her capacity as the minister of culture and media, she had always stood up for the autonomy of the media, notably reporters.

Union leader: Milanović attacks journalists who are not responsible for HRT's policy

Croatian Journalists' Union leader and HRT reporter Maja Sever said on Thursday that the reporters whom Milanović verbally attacked earlier in the day were not responsible for the public broadcaster's editorial policy and that he was among those who had failed to ensure HRT's autonomy. 

Also on Thursday, the Journalists' Union and the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) branch at the HRT condemned Milanović's statements, but also noted that the HRT under current director Kazimir Bačić was not an independent public service and that the government led by PM Andrej Plenković was responsible for that.

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Friday, 7 May 2021

Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography Publishes Book On All things Turopolje

May 7, 2021 - Last month, The Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography had a presentation in Velika Gorica regarding the newly published book on all things Turopolje.

The ever-fascinating region of Turopolje, not so far from Zagreb, as the largest city of the region is Velika Gorica (connected by Zagreb with a regular public service bus) earlier this month good a book that gives an overview of every knowledge collected about Turopolje. Or in a noun: a lexicon.

As The Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography informs on its website, the end of April saw the presentation of the latest work in the edition of the Institute in Velika Gorica.

In respect to the epidemiological measures, the presentation was held among a limited number of journalists and attendees. Nina Obuljen Koržinek, the minister of culture was present along with the mayor of Velika Gorica Krešimir Ačkar, and the head if Miroslav Krleža Insitute, Bruno Kragić. The county ruler of the noble county of Turopolje Mladen Klemenčić was present too and talked about the book. Katja Matković Mikulčić, the headmistress of Velika Gorica City Library and a co-editor of the lexicon, had an opening speech.

The accompanying culture program saw an actor and singer Adam Končić recite poems by Krleža (a famous Croatian writer, poet, publicist, and encyclopedist the Institute was named after) and pupils from Franje Lučić Art School that sing with the back-up of Krešimir Starčević that followed the notes of a famous conductor from Turopolje Franjo Lučić (the inspiration for the name of the art school).

As usual, the Institute was determined to gather as a wider circle of associates as possible, especially the authors. Some of the authors are individuals from heritage, educational, and cultural institutions, but researchers from specific scientific areas and noted publicists contributed to the book as well.

„The project started with the overwhelming support of the City of Velika Gorica, the central administration unit of Turopolje, and the cooperation contract was signed in 2018. With its concept and graphics, this lexicon continues the previous editions of the Lexicography Institute, which focuses on individual Croatian regions (Istria, Croatian Zagorje) or towns (Zagreb)“, the Institute's website quotes the foreword of the book.

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Monday, 19 April 2021

10th Book Night to Symbolically Mark Start of Year of Reading Activities

ZAGREB, 19 April, 2021 - The Croatian Culture and Media Ministry on Monday announced the 10th Book Night, to be held on Friday, 23 April, as one of the activities planned for this year, which has been declared a Year of Reading.

Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said at a news conference that dedicating the year 2021 to reading was part of the national strategy promoting reading, which had gained special importance in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, when organising cultural events involving a large number of participants had become impossible.

It was therefore only natural to dedicate this year to reading, "an activity that we associate with our intimate space, that does not jeopardise anyone and that enriches everyone involved in it," she said.

The minister said that the results of a project on the role of reading in building an inclusive society, for which funding was secured from the European Social Fund, would be published soon, as well as that funds that would not be mobilised due to a ban on international fairs would be redirected to promote domestic cultural activities.

Obuljen Koržinek expressed confidence those activities would result in better indicators regarding books and reading and that trends on reading habits, which have been stagnating for a long time, would change for the better.

Maja Zrnčić of the Culture and Media Ministry spoke about programmes to take place in the Year of Reading.

She said an important goal of the event was to make existing programmes - awards, festivals, fairs and other book events - more visible, as well as promote new programmes, including the project "Born to read", which promotes a love of reading from early years onwards and as part of which free picture books will be distributed to pediatric offices across the country to be passed on to parents.

The ministry also intends to improve the status of authors and translators and make them more visible.

Another event, which is part of the national strategy promoting reading, is National Day of Reading, when Croatians will be reading at the same time at different places.

In October, an international conference on ways to promote reading will be held.

There is also a plan to declare public figures, such as actors, athletes, doctors and the like, ambassadors of reading.

Local and regional government units have been asked to enable free library membership for all young people this year, Zrnčić said while speaking about the activities planned for this year to promote reading.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek Confident of Prompt Reconstruction of Quake-Damaged Monuments

ZAGREB, 8 April, 2021 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Thursday the most important thing in the reconstruction of the cultural heritage was to reinforce and repair all monuments in a short time and that the first allocation would help to carry out all urgent works in 18 months.

The first allocation at our disposal is €680 million from the European Solidarity Fund, she told the press, saying that the recently outlined national recovery and resilience plan included reconstruction funds.

Croatia also has at its disposal funds approved by the World Bank, she said, adding that she also expected the approval of an allocation following last December's earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County.

She said the damage to the cultural heritage in Zagreb following the March 2020 quake was estimated at €7 billion.

The reconstruction of complex monuments such as Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery would take years and the necessary funds will be raised from various sources, the minister said.

She said her ministry had received more than 130 acceptable reconstruction applications and that contracts had been signed for a little over 40 monuments, including sacral and public buildings.

She added that public procurement was already under way and that over the past year experts from the ministry and Zagreb's faculties of civil engineering, geodesy, and architecture had completed the required documents for all monuments.

The first objective is to reinforce the buildings to prevent them from being a threat and deteriorating, the minister said.

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Thursday, 8 April 2021

Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek Says Mirogoj Cemetery One of Seven Most Endangered European Localities

ZAGREB, 8 April, 2021 - Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery complex is one of the seven European most endangered monument localities in 2021, Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said at a news conference on Thursday.

The Culture and Media Ministry, in cooperation with the City of Zagreb, the City Institute for the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage and the Zagreb Holding multi-utility conglomerate nominated the cemetery for the European Seven Most Endangered Programme, taking into account its specificity and value as the most important multiconfessional cemetery in Croatia and an exceptionally valuable cemetery at the European level, as well as the huge damage caused to it by the March 2020 earthquake, the minister said.

She recalled that the programme, implemented since 2013 by Europa Nostra in cooperation with the European Investment Bank Institute, each year puts emphasis on seven European localities.

That way experts and funds are mobilised so that together we can renovate the European cultural heritage, said Obuljen Koržinek.

She noted that a number of European experts, notably earthquake reconstruction experts, had offered various forms of help over the past year and that they would all be involved, notably in complex reconstruction projects.

"The preliminary work on the Mirogoj complex alone, to be financed from the European Solidarity Fund, has been estimated at HRK 97 million," she said, adding that this includes emergency repairs acceptable for financing under the European Solidarity Fund.

Those funds have been approved, documents are being collected and work will start relatively soon, she said, noting that it was clear to everyone that the renovation of Mirogoj would be a long-standing project requiring great professional engagement considering that the cemetery had not been renovated since its construction.

She said that at today's Europa Nostra presentation it was said that everyone would mobilise to help Croatia collect the necessary funding.

The other six most endangered monuments and localities of cultural heritage in Europe in 2021 are the Achensee Cog Railway (Tyrol, Austria), Five Southern Aegean Islands (Greece), Giusti Garden in Verona (Italy), Dečani Monastery (Kosovo), the Central Post Office in Skopje (North Macedonia) and the San Juan de Socueva Chapel and Hermitage (Cantabria, Spain).

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