Croatia: Freedom of speech and rights of minorities under attack

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) backs its Croatian affiliate, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), in denouncing the attack against freedom of speech and the rights of ethnic minorities in Croatia. On February 13, the nongovernmental organisation “In the Name of the Family” (U ime obitelji) held a press conference asking for disqualifying the weekly magazine Novosti published by the Serb National Council. On the same day, it sent to the government a document titled “Report on the Abuse of State Budget Funds for the Serbian National Minority”, in which it calls for the criminal prosecution of Novosti’s journalists, editors…

An indictment issued for hate crime following threats to CJA president Saša Leković

On 19 January, an indictment has been issued for hate crime against Ivan Goluban, arrested since November 2016, following threats by text message to CJA president Saša Leković. Goluban has been detained following his arrestation as the judge considered that he could potentially repeat the harassment against Leković. He is facing up to 5 years in jail. In October 2016, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounced the increase of hate speech and direct threats towards journalists in Croatia in an article explaining how Saša Leković escaped a serious road accident after his car appeared to have been tempered with.…

Croatia: Journalist Domagoj Margetić beaten in Zagreb city centre

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is backing its affiliate, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), to denounce the attack against the journalist Domagoj Margetić, in Zagreb (Croatia) city centre, on 13 December. According to the testimony given by phone to the Croatian Journalists’ Association, Margetić said he was approached by a man. He thought he wanted to ask him something, but the man shouted he would “silence” him, adding “You will never write again”. He went on with threats and started to beat him. Domagoj Margetić is a journalist investigating crime and corruption in Croatia and is editor of „No censorship“ show at TV…

Croatia: CJA president escaped an accident after his car appeared to have been deliberately sabotaged

On 27 October, the president of the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Saša Leković, escaped a serious road accident after his car appeared to have been tempered with. He was driving on a motorway when his car started shaking and swerving. He was able to stop the car and found out that the right front wheel was twisted and two screws were half-sawed. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounces this apparent criminal act and joins its affiliate, the CJA, in calling on to the authorities to investigate and adequately respond to the incident . This event follows many threats against CJA president and other CJA members and…

Croatia: EFJ alarmed by extended term for acting general manager of public service media HRT

The Croatian technical Government decided to extend the term to Siniša Kovačić as acting HRT general manager from 6 months to 1 year besides internal and external opposition. With early elections scheduled for September 11, the technical government in July opened a ten-day-consulting process on a decree to amend the law on the Croatian Radio-Television, HRT in order to allow the acting head of HRT to stay on for a year, instead of six months, which is the timeframe stipulated under the existing law. While the regulation says that the present acting HRT general manager term shall be expanded until…

Croatia: Reports highlights media freedom in turbulent times

Media freedom in Croatia is facing turbulent times with excessive political influence, concluded by an international mission in a report published on 9 August.  The report published by the International Press Institute (IPI) highlighted that the political crisis in the country has put journalists and media freedom at risk resulting in the lack of independence of public media, increase in legal restrictions and physical attacks on journalists. The report listed a series of findings from the international mission back in June 21 – 23 carried out by the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO). The mission included representatives from the…

Croatia urged to promote public broadcaster independence

A delegation of six press freedom organisations concluded a three-day mission to Croatia by calling on the country’s political leaders to guarantee the independence of the public broadcaster HRT as well as of the national electronic media regulator. Members of the delegation said the next Croatian government should act swiftly to reform the current law governing HRT, which does not provide sufficient safeguards against undue political influence over the broadcaster’s operations and output. Delegates specifically highlighted as problematic the process for nominating HRT’s director-general via a parliamentary vote. Public service broadcasting should not be controlled by party politics. Professional standards…

Croatian President says shaming media law should be scrapped

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović told an international media freedom delegation today that she supports efforts to protect the independence of national public broadcaster HRT and to repeal her country’s controversial ‘shaming’ law. While Croatian political parties have traditionally sought to control HRT, alarmingly rapid moves by the outgoing Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)-led government to replace key positions at the broadcaster have raised international concern. Some observers have warned that the moves represent an attempt to promote a nationalist – and in some cases even historical revisionist – editorial line. The president, in response to concerns raised by the delegation, assured…

Conference “Media Clientelism Index: Measuring the Reality”

Media Clientelism Index (MCI) is the first cross country comparative and country specific reporting on the state of media clientelism and politicisation based on empirical data. Experimental research, i.e. ground zero measuring of the Index was conducted in six countries of South eastern Europe (Republic of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, FYR of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Romania). The event is organised under the framework of Civil Response to Clientelism in Media – MEDIA CIRCLE project financed from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance by the European Union (IPA) Civil Society Facility (CSF), implemented by Partnership for Social Development (Croatia)…

Croatia: governmental attacks on Media Freedom

The decision to abolish state subsidies for non-profit media in Croatia was announced by Croatian Minister of Culture, Zlatko Hasanbegović, on the 27th of January 2016. The International and European Federations of Journalists join their affiliates in Croatia, the Croatia Journalists’ Association (HND) and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (Sinoh) in condemning this decision, as well as the minister of Culture dissolution of the Expert Committee for non-profit media before the end of his mandate. “Non-profit media in Croatia arose as an oasis of critical and professional journalism, focusing on topics ignored by most other media outlets, bolstering the freedoms and…

Croatian journalists calling the authorities to end impunity

As a follow-up to the case of Željko Peratović, a freelance journalist and blogger who has been attacked at his home on May 28, 2015 in an attempted murder, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (Hrvatsko Novinarsko Drustvo, an EFJ-IFJ affiliate) is reminding the authorities with several cases of death threats and attacks on journalists which are still not resolved. “It is one year since freelancer Domagoj Margetić has been beaten up in front of his apartment in Zagreb. The Croatian State Attorney defined that attack as attempted murder but not the attacker or motifs, nor the person(s) who possibly ordered it…

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