Why Did HTZ Block Instagram Profiles Promoting Croatia?

Total Croatia News

Screenshot | Ivo Bocina
Screenshot | Ivo Bocina

Screenshot | Ivo Bocina

August 24, 2020 – Another illogical move in Croatia. The Croatian National Tourism Board blocked Croatian photographers on Instagram who promote the beauties of Croatia.

After Index.hr received a couple of messages from Croatian photographers, they started to dig.

“It is awful to block people who work on the promotion of Croatia,” one of the blocked photographers complains to Index.hr. The Croatian Tourist Board said that they blocked only those who “steal”, “falsely present themselves,” and “with whom they are in court”. As Index.hr has investigated, most of the CNTB’s accusations do not stand. Index.hr was convinced by the fact that after their inquiry about the photographers, some profiles were unblocked.

The Croatian National Tourist Board has more than 10,000 posts and more than 378,000 followers on its official Instagram profile. Most of the photos are actually from other profiles, and the photos are signed with a link to the original profile where they were posted. The promotion of Croatia should be important for the CNTB, and for those who publish photos to get a larger number of views, and thus followers. However, the CNTB, as Index.hr finds out, blocked part of the photographers and did not download or share their content on the official Instagram profile of the CNTB.

Blocking a profile on Instagram means disabling a blocked profile from accessing your profile and preventing it from seeing posts. Also, blocking on Instagram prevents sending messages, tagging in pictures, and any communication between the profile that blocked and the one that is blocked.

By blocking the photographers, the CNTB also prevented the CNTB from tagging their photos, as well as any communication on Instagram.

“We try, we do their job, and they block us.”

“We try so hard and instead of giving us a hand because we work globally, they block us all,” one of the blocked photographers complained. But none of them understand why this is being done. “It’s frivolous and childish and no one benefits from it. We can watch CNTB announcements through other profiles, and other people can still enjoy promoting Croatia as a beautiful country on our profiles,” another photographer complains.

The Croatian National Tourist Board claims that they have extremely successful cooperation with a large number of relevant, successful, proven and internationally recognized photographers and that they do not have any photographers blocked on their profiles.

CNTB: The problem is copyright and misrepresentation

“So far, we have had a successful collaboration with photographers on our social networks, but, unfortunately, we were forced to terminate our collaboration with one photographer due to the question of valid copyright over the photo that she published as her own and confirmed in writing. Namely, a third person appeared as the author of the disputed photo, and a court proceeding related to copyright is in progress,” the CNTB told Index.hr, without specifying who it was.

The CNTB, in response to an Index inquiry, said that each author the posts themselves contact and ask permission to post the photo. Index.hr asked the CNTB why they block the profiles of some photographers.

“They use false information”

“These profiles used ‘false information’, or they were presented as official profiles ‘in charge of promoting Croatia in the world. We are responsible for marketing Croatia overseas as a leading holiday and business tourism destination’ and used author’s texts and content of the Croatian National Tourist Board without consent and approval, which violated the copyright (of the texts). We reported this via Facebook for false presentation or use of the content without permission, which was later downloaded by Facebook / Instagram,” says the CNTB’s response.

Index.hr sent an additional query, stating that they unblocked some profiles after Index.hr first query was not answered.

As Index.hr checked, their misrepresentation answer was correct, but only for one page. This is the Instagram profile of Croatia, which is presented on social networks, specifically Facebook, as the “Croatian Tourist Board”. The CNTB presented Index.hr with reports against that site.

For other profiles, for which Index.hr sent them inquiries, they did not give them any evidence.

Timotej: We should support each other and work for each other

The Timotej profile belongs to a Croatian photographer who was born in England, and who did not want to introduce himself by his full name and surname. His profile has more than 58,000 followers, and his photos promote the beauties of Croatia.

The CNTB says they cannot comment on why the site was blocked because “court proceedings are ongoing”. In an interview with Index, Timotej says that he would certainly be informed about some kind of court proceedings, but he doesn’t know it exists.

“All these beautiful Instagram profiles that post beautiful photos from Croatia are blocked by the Croatian National Tourist Board instead of supporting each other and working together. This is not a contest for the number of followers but our goal is to show the world the most beautiful places in Croatia and make people fall in love with Croatia,” Timotej said to Index.hr.

Andrea Miličević: It is bad to block people who work on the promotion of Croatia

Andrea Miličević is behind the Instagram profile croatia_photography, which has almost 80,000 followers. Her profile was also blocked by the CNTB. She tells Index.hr that she has never received any notification of the reasons why she was blocked and has been blocked for five years.

“I honestly didn’t try to find an answer. Underneath every photo that is not mine is the author, so there are no copyright infringements. In fact, people are extremely happy when a photo is published to them. I get inquiries about accommodation, trips every day it is extremely bad to block people who work on the promotion of Croatia,” Miličević said.

Index.hr asked the CNTB to explain precisely why croatia_photography was blocked, but they did not respond.

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