Parliament is expected to vote on the candidates who meet the requirements set by the parliamentary media committee on Friday.
During the debate before the walkout, Nino Raspudić of the opposition Bridge (Most) said the Programming Council “has no powers and serves nothing because no one listens to it, it has no role at all nor influence on the selection of anyone or anything.”
“The HRT is in the service of the great leader and his clique on a caricature level,” he said, adding that the reputation and relevance of the public broadcaster was being constantly degraded and that the HRT avoided covering serious topics.
Raspudić said the Programming Council was disempowered by amendments to the HRT Act adopted by the former SDP-led government, adding that the power was concentrated in the hands of the HRT director general and the HRT put under direct political control.
Željko Sačić of the opposition Croatian Sovereignists said the HRT did not have enough programmes for war veterans and criticised the Programming Council for failing to affirm the values in the Homeland War Declaration.
Marijana Puljak of opposition Centre suggested abolishing the licence fee and the Programming Council, saying that Croatia had high taxes which could be used to finance the HRT’s work instead of additionally collecting HRK 1.3 billion annually from citizens. She added that there was no investigating journalism on the HRT.
Vesna Bedeković of the ruling HDZ denied that the Programming Council had no role or powers, saying it followed the implementation of programming principles and the HRT-government agreement.
She recalled that nine of the Council’s 11 members were elected in parliament and two from the HRT staff, and dismissed complaints that there were no sufficient programmes for war veterans.