Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Electronic Media Act Will be Liberalised, Says Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek

ZAGREB, 17 March, 2021 - Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Wednesday the Electronic Media Act would be liberalised and that one of the options was allowing the vertical concentration of the media in Croatia.

"We will liberalise that law in the part concerning the regulation of concentration. However, in that case we are considering certain other instruments which generate or ensure media pluralism. I mean the 'must offer' or 'must carry' concepts, but an agreement is yet to be reached on this," she told the press.

The news and programming director of the N1 commercial TV, Tihomir Ladišić, yesterday accused the government of leading to a market monopoly of the two telecoms, A1 and HT, by failing to amend the Electronic Media Act.

His comment came after news that A1 decided to remove N1 from its offer and that it was certain that HT would follow suit.

Asked if the government would allow vertical media concentration, enabling a media publisher to also be a media content operator, which is banned under the current Electronic Media Act, the minister said that was one of the options, adding that the law explicitly banned an operator from also being a media content publisher.

Other media pluralism mechanisms will be introduced

"We are one of the last EU states to have that explicit ban. If we go towards lifting the ban, then some other mechanisms ensuring media pluralism will be introduced," she said.

These mechanisms will enable a company that is both publisher and operator to offer the channel for which it obtained a concession to itself as an operator and to someone else under the same terms.

The minister said such vertical concentration was "what the public can rightfully be afraid of."

She reiterated that A1's decision to remove United Media Group's channels, including N1, from its offer, was strictly a business matter between the two companies, not a matter of legislative regulation.

The minister has a number of times dismissed the argument that the Electronic Media Act did not allow N1 to broadcast on its own platform, saying the law regulates only publishers which have a concession and are established in Croatia.

"N1 is a pay channel which is not established in Croatia and does not have a concession," the minister said.

She would not say what it meant for media democracy in Croatia that N1 was being phased out because two operators decided to remove it from their offers.

"Two days ago I said I believe it's in the public interest that all channels which interest the Croatian public should be available on all operators and I stand by that."

Following news that A1 was cancelling its contract with N1, MPs today called for regulating the telecommunications and media market and resolving contentious issues as soon and as precisely as possible with a new electronic media law.

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Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Ministry of Culture and Media: "We Condemn All Violence, Clearer Procedures Needed"

ZAGREB, 10 March, 2021 - The Ministry of Culture and Media said, commenting of the dismissal of HRT reporter Hrvoje Zovko, that it condemned all forms of violence and abuse and advocated clearer procedures and equal treatment in all cases of suspected violence, adding that everyone must have the right to present a defence.

"The Ministry of Culture and Media condems all forms of violence and abuse. We think that every accusation must be investigated and sanctioned should it be substantiated in accordance with legal regulations. We advocate clearer procedures and equal treatment in all cases of suspected violence in the case at the HRT and in all other institutions," the Ministry said on Tuesday in response to HINA's query about the dismissal of Hrvoje Zovko, an employee of the HRT national broadcaster and the president of the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND).

At the same time, respecting the presumption of innocence, we stress that everyone must have an equal right to express and present their defence, the Ministry added.

They noted that they had been informed about the details of the procedure in the case of Hrvoje Zovko's dismissal from the media and once again underscore "the importance of equal treatment of all employees".

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Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Year 2021 Declared Year of Reading in Croatia

ZAGREB, Dec 30, 2020 - The year 2021 will be a Year of Reading in Croatia, the government decided on Wednesday, which means that a series of activities will be conducted to promote the culture of reading and enable as many people as possible to read with understanding and enjoy it.

The slogan will be "Let us read not to be left without words."

The declaration of the Year of Reading is part of a measure from the action plan of the National Strategy to Revive Book Reading, adopted in 2017 to contribute to the development of the culture of reading.

Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek said that the decision to declare next year the Year of Reading had been made, among other things, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that reading was one of the cultural activities we turn to in such circumstances.

During the Year of Reading, new activities will be created and carried out -- the award for the best bookstore will be presented, there will be a competition for the best book trailer for primary and secondary school students, "reading ambassadors" will be proclaimed, an international reading conference will be organized, youth award for literature will be presented, little night readings will take place -- all of which will contribute to the affirmation of reading.

"Last week, a European Social Fund tender worth HRK 41 million was launched, and all funds will be additionally invested in programs promoting reading," the minister added.

The decision underscores the importance of reading since models of identification found in literature offer opportunities for a more successful understanding of interpersonal communication, better conflict resolution, and a fuller understanding of what helps or threatens us in life.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Croatia and Russia Sign Programme for Boosting Cultural Cooperation

ZAGREB, Dec 16, 2020 - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Croatian Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek signed on Wednesday the sixth Programme of Cooperation in the Field of Culture for the 2020-2022 period, the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media said.

The program was signed as part of the Russian Foreign Minister's official visit to Croatia, and it encourages exchange and cooperation between artists, cultural and art institutions, and associations, as well as direct cooperation between cultural institutions of mutual interest, the MKM said.

Mutual cooperation, the Ministry said, encompasses a wide range of activities related to museums, galleries, performing arts, literature, and publishing, as well as the existing high level of cooperation in the area of audiovisual activities.

The Ministry recalled that in the domain of cultural heritage the cooperation was especially pronounced between the Underwater Research Centre of the Russian Geographical Society, the Lomonosov Moscow State University Marine Research Centre, and the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar, a UNESCO Category II Centre.

Signing the Programme will improve, the Ministry said, the existing cooperation between organizations, artists, and experts.

In addition to a good and meaningful bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which is achieved through direct contact between cultural institutions and artists working in Croatia and Russia, the cooperation within international platforms will also continue, the Ministry of Culture and Media said.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

'From Earthquake to Earthquake 1880-2020' Exhibition Opens

ZAGREB, November 25, 2020 - An exhibition called "From Earthquake to Earthquake 1880-2020" was opened at the Museum of Arts and Crafts on Tuesday, marking the museum's 140th anniversary.

Among those attending were President Zoran Milanovic and Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek.

Over the past 150 years, compared with other cities in Europe, Zagreb has actually suffered very little in this earthquake area, an area of unrest, war, suffering, killing. Zagreb has been trampled, destroyed, set on fire, bombed relatively little compared with them, the president said.

"May this which happened at the end of March this year be and remain one of the biggest afflictions we... experienced," the president said, referring to the March earthquake.

Zagreb is a beautiful city, among the 20 most beautiful in Europe, and it "is waiting to be finally and definitely touched up, which will require a partnership between citizens, owners, the city and the Croatian state," said Milanovic

Minister Obuljen Korzinek said the exhibition was aimed at showing people just a small piece of the damage museums and cultural assets in Zagreb sustained in the March earthquake.

She recalled that the European Parliament decided on Monday to give Croatia €680 million from the Solidarity Fund to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake, including over €100 million intended for the reconstruction of the cultural heritage.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Tourism Minister Proposes Joint Tourism Working Group to Italian Counterpart

ZAGREB, November 20, 2020- Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac proposed on Friday in an online meeting the establishment of a joint working group for tourism to Italian Culture and Tourism Minister Dario Franceschini, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport (MINTS) has said.

Minister Brnjac and Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek held an online bilateral meeting with Franceschini, ahead of the fourth plenary session of the Coordinating Committee of Croatian and Italian Ministers, the ministry said in a press release.

Brnjac said that during Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU a quality discussion had been initiated between member states in the tourism sector, and the need to find a joint plan for overcoming the crisis had been identified.

In the difficult circumstances that hit tourism this year, it is especially important to exchange experiences on the use of EU funds, encourage private-public partnerships and interregional and cross-sectoral cooperation to ensure recovery and resilience, as well as further development and growth of the tourism sector, the Croatian tourism minister said.

She also said that the initiative to better position tourism within the EU, which Croatia had presented in 2018, had attracted great interest and support of Italy and other EU member states.

According to her, Croatia is open to presenting and promoting itself together with Italy in third markets, as well as to sharing knowledge and experience on the technological, legislative and organisational aspects of Croatia's award-winning eVisitor system.

The ministers also agreed that education in tourism was key to strengthening and further developing the sector, and that the exchange of knowledge and good practices in the training of tourism and hospitality staff was very useful for both sides, MINTS said.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Experts Call on Minister to Protect HNK

ZAGREB, Oct 13, 2020  - A group of experts has called on Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek and the Zagreb city authorities to do something about disorderly gatherings of young people outside the HNK (Croatian National Theatre) and protect the city's cultural heritage and enable dialogue between different social groups.

"The HNK and the surrounding area has become a place of nightly gatherings of young people... some of whom are active perpetrators of violence who are noisy, who smash things, throw up and urinate on and around the HNK building while others ignore it, minding their own business," the group, called "Let's Renew Zagreb", said in a statement.

All of this happens without any municipal control or police intervention, they say, stressing that squares are not zones where spontaneous gatherings are banned.

Noting that the square where the HNK is located was a place of spontaneous gatherings in the early 1980s, they say that at the time there was municipal order and a sense of the importance of the city's cultural heritage.

"The national theatre - the HNK - has now become a disgrace and a public toilet," the group says, noting that municipal services and police as well as political stakeholders at the city and national levels, had completely failed with regard to control and facilitation of nightly gatherings outside the HNK.

It calls on the minister to find, in cooperation with the city department for culture, appropriate locations where citizens will be able to gather and have fun outdoors without destroying a centuries-old cultural setting and hurting other citizens' feelings.

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Friday, 24 July 2020

Journalists' Association, Union Write to PM, Media Minister

ZAGREB, July 24, 2020 - The Croatian journalists' association (HND) and union (SNH) sent an open letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek on Friday, reminding them of unsolved problems and asking for a media strategy, new media laws, and journalism funds.

Four years ago, you announced a quality media strategy, a media legislation reform and support for quality journalism and free and professional journalists and media. New laws on the media and the public broadcaster have not been passed, while the copyright law was criticised in public consultation by almost all relevant professional organisations,the HND and SNH say in the letter.

They recall that last year they were forced to protest in the streets against the huge number of lawsuits against journalists and media, political and advertisers' pressure, threats against journalists, the undermining of professional rights and standards, the breach of media laws and lack of a serious media policy.

Today the situation is even worse, as the coronavirus crisis has further deepened the economic difficulties in the media sector and shown how unprotected media staff are, the letter said, adding that in several years before this crisis 50% of media staff were laid off.

The HND and SNH also ask for stronger social dialogue, stopping strategic lawsuits against public participation, including the HND and SNH in decision making and that their remarks on the electronic media bill be accepted.

We hope that in this term you will improve media legislation to ensure media independence and conditions for free and professional journalism. If journalists live in poverty, corruption or fear, there is no freedom of the press or democracy, the letter said.

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