European Federation of Journalists

Croatia: Media accused of conspiring to overthrow the government

Credits: Damir SENCAR / AFP

N1 Croatia revealed that members of the ruling party (HZD) accused part of the media of conspiring with the opposition to destabilise the government. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate in Croatia, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), in condemning new serious attempt to discredit the Croatian media.

N1 TV channel reported that HZD top figures claimed, during a private online meeting on 11 January 2021, that certain media and journalists had sided with the opposition and the radical right to criticise the slow and inefficient handling of the crisis by the government after the deadly earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County in late December. Allegations have not been denied.

In particular, former HZD MEP and current Vice President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, allegedly claimed the media were trying to overthrow the government through their critical reporting on the aftermath of the earthquake. N1 sources added that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković claimed the media are trying to diminish the role of the government. HZD party member Vladimir Šeks reportedly claimed the media had united with the left to “change the outcome of the parliamentary elections”.

The Croatian Journalists’ Association qualified the comments as “shameful” and “dangerous” attempts to discredit media outlets and added:

“By reporting on the devastating earthquake and its consequences, the media showed exceptional professionalism and in many situations reacted faster than the institutions. Their work has contributed to raise public awareness for an even greater response and to help the inhabitants of the affected areas.

This statement is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism, which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. This project, co-funded by the European Commission, provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers.