Monday, 22 November 2021

PM Says Saturday Protest Predominantly Political

ZAGREB, 22 Nov 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that the protest against the COVID-19 certificate mandate on Saturday was predominantly a political protest, described as shameful political profiteering from people's fears, COVID-19 deaths, and COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives.

He stressed that he also condemned attacks on reporters during the protest.

"I most strongly condemn the attack on your fellow reporter (Goran) Latković, it is a cowardly and brazen act and it is not clear to me why anyone would bring into question the right of reporters and media to report about a public event. I regret it happened and believe police will identify the perpetrators," Plenković told reporters during a visit to Slovenia.

Noting that it was not problematic to protest and express one's view or disagree with the measures the government was undertaking, Plenković said that the protest was nonetheless of a political nature.

"The gentlemen from the Bridge, the Homeland Movement, the remnants of the Human Shield, and the exhibitionist from the European Parliament whom no one knows there, (Croatian independent MEP Mislav) Kolakušić, have jumped on the bandwagon. (President Zoran) Milanović supported them before and afterward. He is the only president of an EU member country who openly opposes COVID-19 certificates and measures introduced by the government to protect public health," said Plenković.

As for protesters shouting that there was no coronavirus and that they were being denied their freedoms, Plenković said profiteering from people's fears was shameful and called on the protesters to visit an intensive care unit in a Croatian hospital where COVID-19 patients are being treated.

He repeated that vaccination is not mandatory and that testing is being offered as a non-invasive alternative.

"What is invasive about swabbing that lasts half a second? The sole purpose of the protest was to profit from COVID-19 deaths. There are people who try to profit from people's fears while themselves being afraid of a simple test," said Plenković.

Constitution protects Milanović but not his secretary and chief of staff

In a comment on decisions by individual local officials to defy restrictions imposed by the national COVID-19 response team, the PM said that in normal circumstances, everyone fights against disease but that there are know-it-alls who say that there is no coronavirus in Primošten, Sinj, and Čabar, a reference to the three towns' mayors.

"We are dealing here with petty politics and politicians who are sabotaging our measures designed to protect citizens," he added.

As for President Milanović's statements about COVID-19 certificates, Plenković said that the president was protected by the constitution but that his secretary and chief of staff were not.

In a comment on an announcement by the opposition Bridge party that it would organize a referendum on COVID-19 certificates, he said Bridge officials were "the biggest parasites" trying to profit from the current situation, adding that they should be asked if they had got vaccinated as "there are many who are making noise and have protected themselves."

As for a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights pointing to omissions by Croatian police in a case involving the death of a six-year-old Afghan migrant child, Plenković said that he regretted the tragic event and that he respected the ruling.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Police Searching for Anti-Vaccine Certificate Rally Organisers, Reporter’s Assailants

ZAGREB, 21 Nov, 2021 - A police official in the Zagreb police department, Davor Posilović, said on Sunday that the police were intensively searching for the organisers of Saturday's march staged by anti-vaccine certificate protesters, since the rally was not officially reported.

The police are also searching for assailants who physically attacked a reporter of the RTL commercial broadcaster while he was covering the demonstrations

Intensive actions are being taken to identify potential organisers and to take appropriate steps against them, Posilović told a press conference in Zagreb on Sunday afternoon.

The failure of organisers to report the rally in advance amounts to the violation of the legislation on public assembly.

The police official added pyrotechnic devices had been used during the rally, the organisers failed to bring security guards and the decision on the restrictions of public assembly was breached.

A report on verbal and physical violence against RTL reporter Goran Latković has been lodged with the police in the meantime.

CCTV and video footage of the incident will be examined to identify the perpetrators and the police will interview all witnesses.

 "We are in permanent touch with the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) and other professional associations," Posilović said, adding that all who have any information about the incident can contact the police.

Posilović said that no other incidents targeted against media had been reported to the police.

Nova TV and HTV crews were verbally assaulted at the rally, while a group of protesters took Al Jazeera reporter Nikolina Zavišić's microphone as she was reporting live.

On Saturday evening a group of protesters moved from Zagreb's central square to the part of the city where the HRT public broadcaster is located, demanding to see the HRT director and have their rally covered live and calling for an end to "censorship" by the HRT.

Dissatisfied with the way the HRT covered their protest in the central city square at 3 p.m., the protesters shouted "We want elections", "Referendum and people's rule", "Thieves", "Treason", "God's law is above all laws", demanding to see the HRT director and have their rally covered live. "This is no vaccine, this is poison", someone in the crowd could be heard saying while some protesters said the world was ruled by "Bill Gates, Talmudists and Soros's followers".

The protesters were met by riot police, with a dozen police vehicles blocking access to the HRT building.

Posilović said that demonstrators in the main square also burnt a flag of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) during the protest and that an investigation in this case was under way.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Scientist Says Doesn’t Feel Responsible for Incidents During COVID Protests

ZAGREB, 20 Nov, 2021 - Researcher Gordan Lauc, a former member of the government's Scientific Council, said on Saturday evening that he had not called for protests against vaccinations and COVID certificates in his social networks posts and that he did not feel responsible for the incidents during the protest.

Lauc told the the Nova TV broadcaster on Saturday evening that he actually said in his posts that "COVID certificates are wrong. I told the vociferous majority that their voice should be heard. That they should share my post, that they should write to media outlets to the government, that they should turn out at protest rallies in line with law."

He went on to say that it was not him who called on people to join the protest rally held in Zagreb on Saturday afternoon against vaccines and against COVID certificates and underscored that he did not feel responsible for the incidents which had occurred during the demonstrations organised by anti-vaxxers when protesters were trying to prevent reporters to cover the rally in Zagreb's main square.

Lauc said he was sure that 99.9% of demonstrators had expressed their dissatisfaction in a peaceful and legal manner.

He added that every form of violence, both verbal and physical, should be condemned.

"Things should be settled through institution, the system, the exchange of arguments and by making logical decisions."

He said that the decision on the COVID certificate mandate was wrong. The measure was designed in the European Union, when we believed that the vaccinated people could not spread the virus.

This creates a false feeling of security, Lauc added.

While claiming that the vaccination against coronavirus would not lessen the strain on hospitals, he admitted that he was fully vaccinated after he had recovered this infectious disease.

He explained that he had received two shots to make it easier for him to travel abroad and also due to the fact that he had underlying conditions.

"Vaccination will not halt the spread of the pandemic. Getting vaccinated will reduce the risks of vaccinated individuals. All of us will caught the virus," he said.

Lauc used to be a member of the government's scientific think tank, however, the government decided to dismiss him from that body, after he said that he was against the mandatory COVID certificates for entry into state and public institutions.

The Croatian Chamber of Physicians and some members of the said think tank already warned about controversial statements made by Lauc and the chamber welcomed the decision to relieve  Lauc of the membership of the government's scientific council.

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Saturday, 20 November 2021

Protesters Rally Outside HRT, Demand End to “Censorship”

ZAGREB, 20 Nov, 2021 - Protesters against COVID-19 certificates on Saturday evening moved from Zagreb's central square to the part of the city where the HRT public broadcaster is located, demanding to see the HRT director and have their rally covered live and calling for an end to "censorship" by the HRT.

Dissatisfied with the way the HRT covered their protest in the central city square at 3 p.m., the protesters shouted "We want elections", "Referendum and people's rule", "Thieves", "Treason", "God's law is above all laws", demanding to see the HRT director and have their rally covered live.

The protesters were met by riot police, with a dozen police vehicles blocking access to the HRT building.

Some of the protesters demanded to see the editor in chief and that the protest be broadcast live, claiming that the HRT "cannot be a factory of censorship" and that "the HRT is lying to the Croatian people, spreading fear and enemy propaganda."

Claiming that they did not want to force anything on anyone and did not want others to do it to them, and shouting "We want truth" and "People rules" and singing patriotic songs, they continued to demand a response by the HRT, saying that "people want to say what they think" and the public broadcaster has the duty to report about it.

"This is no vaccine, this is poison", someone in the crowd could be heard saying while some protesters said the world was ruled by "Bill Gates, Talmudists and Soros's followers".

An HRT employee told the protesters that there was no one in the building they could talk to, to which they responded with shouts however the protest continued mostly without incidents and around 8 p.m. the protesters started to disperse.

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Saturday, 20 November 2021

RTL Reporter Attacked During Zagreb Protest Against COVID-19 certificates

ZAGREB, 20 Nov, 2021 - RTL television reporter Goran Latković was attacked during a protest against mandatory COVID-19 certificates in Zagreb on Saturday while covering the event.

At the protest, which draw several thousand people from all around the country, Latković was attacked from behind and he sustained two blows to the head, rib cage and elbow.

As he was attacked from behind, the reporter did not see his attackers.

He confirmed to Hina that he would report the incident to the police.

The RTL television reported about the incident involving its reporter.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Protesters Against Mandatory COVID-19 Certificates Rally in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 20 Nov, 2021 - Several thousand people from all over Croatia arrived in Zagreb on Saturday for a protest against mandatory COVID-19 certificates and epidemiological restrictions in force.

The Zagreb city police department said earlier in the day that the protest had not been announced.

"I believe scientist Gordan Lauc", "No to blind belief in authorities", "Live and let others live" were some of the messages on banners carried by the protesters who gathered in two squares, Trg Francuske republike and Trg žrtava fašizma, before starting their march towards the city's central Trg Bana Josipa Jelačića square.

Participants in the protest, which is also called the Silent White March on social networks, want the government to abolish COVID-19 certificates, which prove one's vaccination against or recovery from COVID-19 and which have become obligatory for employees of government and public institutions as well as everyone else entering those institutions.

Zagreb police said the organisers of the protest had not asked for permission to stage the event so the police would film its participants.

Before the protest, some of its participants said that citizens who do not have COVID-19 certificates are being unconstitutionally and unlawfully excluded from public life and prevented from going to work or school.

"It is our civic duty to oppose discrimination against any person, social divisions and the use of this discriminatory certificate as grounds for that," reads a statement whose authors identify themselves as citizens, participants of the Silent White March.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Beroš Responds to Parents Who Demonstrated in Front of His Home

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Thursday told parents who had demonstrated in front of his home against restrictions on visits to sick children that he understood their dissatisfaction, but that the place for dealing with such matters should be the Health Ministry.

"Neither the Health Ministry nor epidemiologists limited the duration of visits to your sick children," Beroš told a group of parents who had said on Facebook they were protesting because the duration of visits to their sick children was limited to 15 minutes.

The minister said that the national COVID-19 crisis management team and epidemiologists had decided that the parents of sick children being treated in Croatian hospitals and health facilities must meet epidemiological requirements as all other visitors, which means they need to have an EU COVID certificate as proof that they have been vaccinated, have recovered from coronavirus or have been tested for COVID-19.

The organization, time, and duration of visits to sick children, the minister said, is organized by each institution in accordance with its organizational and spatial possibilities, and they are required to inform the parents.

"I understand the dissatisfaction of parents... and I will always stand by them as a doctor, minister, and parent, but I cannot accept the way in which they are expressing their protest," the health minister said.

According to media reports, about a dozen of citizens gathered outside the health minister's home at about 7 pm, at the invitation of a religious education teacher from Križevci, Ivan Pokupac, via Facebook.

In the post, Pokupec said that every day they would visit the home address of one member of the crisis management team for 15 minutes.

Pokupec also wrote that last year parents had been allowed to stay with their children in hospital for 15 minutes, but this time with an additional condition - an EU digital COVID certificate.

He said there was no scientific, epidemiological, or moral argument for this and that the additional requirement served to force the concerned parents to get vaccinated.

For the latest news on coronavirus in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 5 July 2021

'Illegal Construction and Nature Devastation Festival' Protest Held

July 4th, 2021 - A rally ironically called "Illegal Construction and Nature Devastation Festival" was held in Vruja cove between Pisak and Brela on Sunday to protest against illegal construction on the maritime domain and state-owned land.

Protesters raised their voice against Stipe Latković, a businessman from Split, saying that because of his friendships with former presidents Stjepan Mesić and Ivo Josipović and the incumbent Zoran Milanović, to whose campaign he contributed, he has been able to devastate Vruja for 20 years.

Despite numerous complaints, decisions and bans, Latković is continuing to build around the cove, they said, asking who could stop development in Vruja.

The protest has been supported by numerous public figures, including actor Rade Šerbedžija.

One of the protest organizers, Boris Dežulović, said the protesters demanded that Milanović be urgently removed from office "because he directly supports the occupation of Croatian territory."

The president recently defended Latković, calling those who criticized the businessman parasites.

The protesters also demanded that Latković be prosecuted for "occupying" the Vruja cove.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Agreement Reached Between Govt, Unions and Protesting Orljava Workers

ZAGREB, 30 June, 2021 - An agreement was reached on Wednesday between two trade unions, workers of the Požega-based Orljava company and the government on three monthly wages in arrears to be paid and on efforts to be made to find a new strategic partner for this clothes company.

Construction and State Assets Minister Darko Horvat received the workers after they held a protest rally outside Government House on Wednesday, demanding talks with the government's representatives.

After the meeting Horvat said that there was no need for the protest to have been held because the government had already taken certain steps in reference to the fate of the Orljava company.

"The government is not running from its obligations. Workers will get their three outstanding salaries in accordance with the law. I promised them that they would get their pay in the next 10 days," Horvat told reporters in Government House.

Horvat: We insist on finding a strategic partner for Orljava

He said that the government is not  thinking of liquidating the company but is insisting on finding a strategic partner. We think that there is no other way out. We have launched very intensive talks with Hemco from Đakovo, he said.

Hemco is specialised inn manufacturing protective clothes.

"At the moment, all the conditions that the government has set for Hemco have not been met for it to take over Orljava, until we negotiate the final details as there is still one small uncertainty," said Horvat.

He announced that a hearing has been set for Friday when Orljava will be assigned with a trustee.

Union leader Tomislav Kiš said that they found common ground with the government and established common stances, objectives and wishes.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Croatian Poet Criticises Petition Against Culture Ministry's Tender for Support

May the 14th, 2021 - As the new public tender by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media was met with the outrage by writers community, a Croatian poet ranting about writers ranting about the culture ministry is quite the turn of events. TCN reporter and slam poet Ivor Kruljac approves but also debates parts of the petition launched against the aforementioned ministry.

The ever-unfortunate literary scene in Croatia, which is sadly not represented as it should be neither in Croatia nor abroad, took heavy blows as a result of the coronavirus pandemic - much like the majority of other sectors. Popular literary events such as Interliber, and many more fairs ended up being cancelled, the blow to this specific branch of cultural industry that generally receives poor investments and poor profits thus became even more challenging.

To jump to the rescue, The Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media issued a public tender for both writers and translators. As Jutarnji list reported, the tender for the provision of financial aid to authors and translators for the best books and translations in 2019/2020 introduced a little novelty along with it.

''With the commissional value of the books, which in previous editions [of such tenders] was the only criterium of assigning financial support, this new tender also has a numerical valuing of literal works“, reported Jutarnji.

This numerical valuing is assessed by the number of awards, the level of participation in literal manifestations and festivals, and critical responses.

''Forty points goes to the winners of the awards: Janko Polić Kamov, Fric, Ksaver Šandor Gjalski, Edo Budiša, Vladimir Nazor, Kvirin, Judita etc. While rewards such as Post Scriptum, going to Fran Galović, Sfera, Tea Rimay Benčić etc, are worth only half of those points. Fifteen points can be received by participating in some festivals and manifestations, while the lower rank of such events is worth ten points. Ten points are also added for reviews in certain media while for others (this sometimes includes expert magazines), the critical review is worth only seven or four points,'' wrote Jutarnji List.

The literary community rebelled, and they started a petition called "The Right to Quality" against these propositions, demanding for the tender to be cancelled, which is supported at the time of writing this article with 233 signatures of Croatian writers and other concerned citizens.

''Public funding support for the best work has significant importance for the number of authors, which is why the authors themselves fought for the existence of this type of support with the initiative ''The Right to a Profession'', reads the text of the petition. The petition also welcomed the description of the criteria to improve transparency but determines that the quantification of literary value, which is a qualitative category in itself, ''disables the authors of a high aesthetic value to get the support their work truly deserves.''

Additionally, playwriters aren't even mentioned in this tender (despite grading rewards which are reserved for playwrites, poets, and essay writers, who are also in a bad position), and the winners of some of these awards will be known only after the ministry's tender closes.  

The Culture Ministry could make many, many improvements, but, having the (mis)fortune of being present on the writing and more particularly, the poetry scene for the last six years (publishing and performing at various events, publishing short stories, and for better or worse, even being covered by the media for my work) I can't say, as a Croatian poet, that the arguments are really on the side of the writer's community either.

Here are several arguments regarding to petition (in bold), as well as counter-arguments (not in bold) from the most annoying Croatian poet in the country. I have no doubt my other colleagues will most likely hate me for it, but you, the reader, are free decide what seems to have more sense. Given the fact that Croatia is a democracy, the pluralism of opinions and civilised public debate is always welcome. Despite the fact that I will not sign the petition, you should sign it yourself if you feel it to be the right thing.

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Assigning the funds by the number of sold copies of books borrowed in libraries is problematic as it's not showing the work's actual quality. Readership is affected by various factors, which don't always come because of a book's quality, but from the previous visibility of the author and the budget the publisher has.

Well, how exactly do we determine the value of literary work? I'm no literature academic, and literary academics don't really communicate these ''legitimate criteria that makes a good book'' all that well. Additionally, these books which are labelled as being good, are so boring to the average reader, and then the reader often gets insulted by ''the intellectuals'' for reading such garbage. When you look at other arts, such as music, you can see that music academics favour some music over other types but then again, some music, known as pop, is made for common people and the artists don't focus on achieving some melodic masterpiece but rather to entertain their audience or send a brief message.

Why do writers who do the same get so ridiculed by academic circles?

Why are they ignored by Croatian publishers? Why do writers then insult the readers, making literature more repulsive to the audience, and then get shocked when there isn't a lot of reading done and consequently not much money to be had from the book business? This also makes the Croatian literary offer very poor, and often its style and topics end up being very similar as a result of this unexplained criteria. In return, there's very little Croatian crime fiction, SF, fantasy, love stories, and other genres, and the readers turn to foreign writers in search of such stories (Jo Nesbo, Stephanie Meyer, J.K Rowling. Lois McMaster Bujold and many, many more). Such writing makes them popular and also visible. That's the answer as to whose work gets most bought and borrowed in Croatia, give them the cash!

Poets are at a disadvantage from the very beginning. There are far fewer rewards for poetry than there are for prose, which means the poets can do nothing else but achieve fewer points. There's also less poetry writing in general, which means a lower amount of points coming from critical reviews. Child authors, essay writers, and comic book artists are in a worse position than poets as well.  

The above gets right to the heart of the point from the perspective of a Croatian poet. But, why is it like that, exactly? Before the coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm, there were so many poetry events filled with poets performing and the audience coming to watch them perform. Be it slam poetry, open mics, or some other poetry events, be it in the libraries, bars, or clubs, it was apparent that Croatia doesn't lack poets, nor does it lack an audience for it. These events were in the majority and were always very open to newcomers.

Social media is also filled with people, either quoting their favourite poets or posting their own, personal poetry. So, why are there no more rewards and why is there not more extensive interest from the publishers (with some honorable exceptions) to invest in poetry and keep up with the trends? Culture journalists working for various media outlets should focus more on poetry as well, and coming from TCN's perspective, poetry articles really do attract an audience, as we saw on March the 21st (assuming that reporting on poetry, an important artistic and historical heritage of the linguistic form, isn't rewarding enough in itself).

Evaluating work by the number of reviews is problematic as books that are more visible, in principle, receive more reviews. The authors whose books are published by smaller editors, who have fewer resources to invest in their promotion, are in a less favourable position. In addition, evaluating the number of reviews where three negatives are worth more than two positives is also illogical in order to evaluate the quality of a piece of work.

On top of that still, the amount of points based on the media site on which the critic is published seems to be very random. The result is the unusual circumstance in which, if the same critic writes two reviews of two different books and publishes them on two different sites, depending on where the critic published the review, one writer will receive 10 points, and the other one four even if the first review was positive, and the other one - negative.    

Again, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there's no empirical way to determine which book is a good book and which isn't. If there were such a righteous empirical way of determining the quality of a book, we wouldn't have the difference between positive and negative reviews. Bad would always be bad, and good would always be good, and there wouldn't be any debates.

Take a look at the empirical field of physics and the definition of friction; ''Friction is a force between two surfaces that are sliding, or trying to slide, across each other“. This definition will always be the correct definition regardless of culture, personal preferences etc. Furthermore, positive reviews, even if done correctly by the rules of the still ''unclear criteria of literature scholars“, that wouldn't be set in stone.

When the poetry volume ''The Flowers of Evil“ by Charles Baudelaire was originally published back in 1857, the academics of the time condemned it as immoral and wrong, and of a poor quality, but today it is celebrated by the successors of that same academia, as one of the best poetry books ever. So, no writer should even care if the reviews are good or bad in terms of quality. That being said, reviews will raise a publication's visibility, attract readership, and inspire critics to write more reviews (combined with the PR done by the publisher). All of this shows the writer's ability to spark a reaction with their work. As such, whether a review is good or bad is irrelevant, but reviews do show the impact and public importance of the book, and therefore it seems to be quite the right direction to go in assessing books by the ministry.

That being said, the tender benefiting the publishing of one review in one media outlet over another is problematic if it doesn't better elaborate why some media outlets are favoured over others in the tender.

Furthermore, big publishers publish more books in larger quantities, and invest more in their promotion, and they already have a name that attracts the press. That is absolutely true. But, today, with the development of social media (which allows promotion without high expenses), and while journalists strive to discover new things, new names, new approaches - small publishers have never before been in a better position to push themselves and the writers they represent out into the public arena and develop and expand to the level of ''big players“. The only question is - do they have the will to do it?

It's not adequate that the esthetical value of a book is evaluated by attending events and manifestations. Festivals more often call upon already established authors who then have an unfair advantage. Additionally, every organiser mostly invites his own authors who again have an advantage over the others. The tender doesn't value international festivals, which causes a paradoxical situation in which the promotion in the organisation of the publisher is evaluated, but it's not evaluated when the promotion happens during an established international festival.

The term ''the presenting of the book“ is problematic for multiple reasons. First and foremost, the majority of these festivals don't present the book (and its a problem to prove that by participating in these festivals, the book was actually presented). Last, but not least – this is discriminatory towards authors of a weaker state of health, who are older (with the risk of the novel coronavirus still large) or busy with family and work obligations and are unable to travel.

Festival organisers do discriminate against writers, but whose fault is that exactly? Are these festivals organised by the Republic of Croatia, by the Ministry of Culture? If they are, then it's problematic, but if these festivals aren't organised by the ministry, then this whole petition is barking up the wrong tree. If the festival organisers aren't willing to be more fair and open to new names, then we, the writers, need to show solidarity with our colleagues and negotiate with festival organisers to invite our colleagues who are less presented to participate. If you're a writer/publisher seriously concerned with this issue, but you're among the lucky ones who get invited, use your position to help others out a little.

On the other hand, it's too bad international festivals aren't valued in the tender, and the ministry should work more in helping Croatian writers become more visible on the international scene. Regarding ''vulnerable writers, the old, the sick, and those too pre-occupied to attend'', they should be presented by their publishers, and an additional problem is that often the expenses of travelling to festivals aren't covered for the writer, and their participation costs money.

Awards such as the VBZ award, the Dragutin Tadijanović award assigned by (HAZU) etc aren't mentioned in the tender. Relevant international awards Croatian authors frequently are awarded, such as the Bridges of Struga (Macedonian award), the European Union Literature Award, the European Poet of Freedom, etc, are also ignored.

Every single award, be it Croatian, European or international, should be valued in the tender, but VBZ really shouldn't be. For those who don't know, the VBZ award is the annual award for the best-unpublished novel, and the winner sees their manuscript published, and there is a financial 100,000 kuna prize that goes with it too. With a huge monetary prize and the chance to have that piece of work published, why would VBZ be part of a tender whose goal is to financially help those writers who have run out of money?

The bigger problem is the question of how fair are these awards in the first place. Are they transparent? Are there no biases from the judges appointing these awards? Interestingly enough, there used to be an award called ''Kiklop'', which was given to the most purchased book in Croatia, but was cancelled in 2009 because the winning book by Nives Celzijus (about what's it like to be the wife of a Dinamo footballer) was considered by writing community to ''not be intellectual enough''. When in reality, for a book that can appeal so much to the Croatian readership, in a country that doesn't read much, such rewards should still be respected.

The final item of the tender that tries to consider the books that went unnoticed isn't going to accomplish too much. From the whole tender, it's visible that the emphasis is being placed on the work that received the most media attention and follows the old principle - The more attention something gets, even if it isn't good attention - the better.

Again, books should be visible to the public, and visibility should be awarded. The majority of publishers seem to see the distribution of a writer's work as their only job, and then they're surprised when despite distribution, the books just sit there not being snapped up by eager readers. Knock on doors, contact people, contact the press, everyone. Prepare a decent press release. Scream from the rooftops that you published a book from the top of your lungs and afford your writer the attention their work deserves. With the aforementioned development of social media, there's truly no excuse to be lagging in that respect today. Then, you'll get the media attention, and half of this tender would not be problematic at all. The problem is the policy of publisher's work and not the criteria by the ministry for this particular item.  

Overall, the Ministry isn't without sin in this saga, but the Croatian writing community (particularly publishers, and event organisers) also needs to act differently to benefit the writers themselves, especially the new generations (and poets, stop forgetting the poets!).

Poets and writers deal with language, and you can learn more about the ins and outs of the Croatian language on our TC page.

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