International Groups Call on HRT to Withdraw Lawsuits against Journalists

Total Croatia News

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ZAGREB, January 23, 2019 – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have called on the management of Croatian public broadcaster HRT to withdraw recent lawsuits against the Croatian Journalists Association (HND), its president Hrvoje Zovko and the president of the HND branch at the HRT, Sanja Mikleušević Pavić, the HND said on Wednesday.

The HND recalled that between Christmas and New Year the management filed lawsuits against the HND, Zovko and Mikleušević Pavić for alleged criminal acts against the HRT’s honour and reputation, seeking 500,000 kuna in damages.

According to the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa NGO, journalists in Croatia are being sued for defamation with increasing frequency, including about 20 suits filed in the last few months against eight media. “It’s a clear example of censorship,” the HND said.

The IFJ and EFJ have joined the Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety in asking the HRT to withdraw the lawsuits as soon as possible. “Managers of HRT should stop pressuring HND… and harassing representatives of the journalists’ association,” IFJ secretary-general Anthony Bellanger has said.

EFJ secretary-general Ricardo Gutiérrez has reminded Croatian authorities that a recent European Union report on media pluralism in Croatia pointed out the “politicised appointments and dismissals in the public service broadcaster HRT”.

The report also mentions the “systematic political interference” in HRT management appointment procedures. “The dismissed Supervisory Committee submitted a 2016 report to the Parliament in which it exposed many irregularities in the management of the public service media. The report displays the state of the serious management crisis,” the HND said.

More news on the Croatian Radio Television can be found in the Business section.


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