ZAGREB, Aug 25, 2020 – Croatian Journalists Association (HND) president Hrvoje Zovko said on Tuesday that the Rijeka County Court had rejected an appeal by the HRT public broadcaster, confirming that the HRT’s having fired him in September 2018 was an unlawful decision and that he had to be reinstated.
Zovko must be reinstated as editor-coordinator within eight days and the HRT must compensate him for the income lost, plus interest.
Zovko thanked the HND, the Croatian Journalists Union, international journalists’ associations, and numerous colleagues for support.
He was fired in September 2018 after the HRT management made a decision on an instant dismissal of its reporter and HND president.
The dismissal was initiated based on a complaint by the editor-in-chief of Croatian Television’s (HTV) news service, Katarina Perisa Cakarun.
Some ten days before that, Zovko tendered his resignation as the editor-in-chief of the HTV Channel 4, saying in a letter that his decision was due to pressure, censorship, an unprofessional choice of topics, lack of organisation and serious technical problems on Channel 4.
This was followed by a meeting with Perisa Cakarun, at which she accepted his resignation. However, only two hours later, Zovko was invited to a second meeting at which an argument erupted between him and Perisa Cakarun.
HRT said Zovko had been dismissed due to a grave breach of rules of office and conduct, a number of insults he said, inappropriate conduct and inappropriate and unprofessional statements, adding that the incident happened during working hours in HRT offices.
The HRT Staff Council voted against Zovko’s dismissal but its opinion was not binding on the HRT management.
With its ruling, the Rijeka County Court has upheld a 2019 ruling which said that Zovko had been fired unlawfully.