Ambassadors Meeting on Media Freedom in Croatia Continues to Attract Public Interest

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Croatian President is surprised by ambassadors’ behaviour.

The meeting of ambassadors from some European Union member countries and the United States in Zagreb last week, when they discussed the issue of media freedom in Croatia, is significant in many ways, but is also a message to the current government about the dissatisfaction with the behaviour of the right wing of HDZ and HSP AS, reports Jutarnji List on April 17, 2016.

“European countries and the United States are closely monitoring in which direction the events will develop in Croatia, and there are more and more signals from Europe and other countries that one minister does not enjoy their trust”, said a well-informed source.

As much as it is somewhat surprising that the ambassadors have met and discussed the issue and then notified the public about it through posts on social networks, the message is clear. “They primarily want to assess the overall policies of the government”, said the source.

The fact that there was a very open discussion about the media in Croatia, from the abolition of the financing of non-profit media and the situation at the Council for Electronic Media and the Croatian Radio Television to articles being published on certain websites, has been confirmed by a diplomat from a country which participated in the meeting.

In addition to the media, a subtle message was sent via the fact that some of the diplomats, including the ones from the United States, attended the commemoration in Jasenovac organized by Jewish Communities, while their attendance at the official commemoration next week is still uncertain.

The source who has a long diplomatic experience argues that Croatian political leadership should access this meeting very seriously. “When ambassadors ‘dare’ to organize a meeting on the subject and then inform the public about it, it means not only that they are very well informed about everything that is going on, but also that their countries do not approve of some of the moves made by the current government. The meeting means they will continue with intensified monitoring of the government”, said the source.

Speaking on Saturday, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović expressed her surprise with the ambassadors behaviour. “This would be very strange, since ambassadors cannot and must not interfere in the internal affairs of the recipient country”, said the President. Austrian Ambassador Widenhoff replied again via Twitter. “I will just say that I am convinced that President Grabar-Kitarović shares our commitment to promoting media freedom worldwide. This is one of our core values.”


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