European Federation of Journalists

President of the Croatia Journalists’ Association threatened with dismissal

UPDATE 01.10.2018: The Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) published an open letter  entitled “CJA’s appeal for freedom of journalism” calling for an urgent public response for public broadcaster HRT and the emblematic case of Hrvoje Zovko.

The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) joined today their Croatian affiliate, Croatia Journalists’ Association (CJA), to strongly condemn the launching by the Croatian public broadcaster HRT of a procedure to fire journalist Hrvoje Zovko, president of CJA.

On 12 September, Hrvoje Zovko decided to resign as deputy editor-in-chief of public TV channel HTV4. Hrvoje Zovko has been a journalist and an editor for public TV HRT for 20 years. Zovko explained in a statement the reasons for his move, citing pressure, censorship and unprofessional choices of topics.

On 13 September, Zovko’s editor-in-chief, Katarina Perisa Cakarun, accepted his resignation, while criticizing his trade union involvement as chairman of CJA.

On 14 September, the management of HRT decided to launch a extraordinary dismissal procedure against the journalist, on the basis of a report by Katarina Perisa Cakarun.

IFJ, EFJ and CJA call on the management of HRT to stop the dismissal procedure, which is seen by CJA as an act of retaliation against Zovko, and an act of intimidation against all HRT journalists affiliated to CJA.

“Together with CJA Vice-Presidents Slavica Lukić and Denis Romac, I believe that the dismissal procedure would never been launched by HRT if Zovko was not the CJA president,” reacted Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President. “We are clearly facing a direct attack against CJA.”

Credit picture: HRT.