Social Democrat Arsen Bauk said the prime minister had opted for the “attack is the best form of defence” approach.
“Some defeats at local elections are painful for the HDZ, notably the prime minister, because he chose or imposed some of the candidates. It is not good for the prime minister, who has both objective and real power, to try to square accounts with or intimidate reporters, media and their editors and owners. I hope you will not let yourself be intimidated by him,” Bauk told reporters in the parliament.
Judging by their response, I can see that they are not intimidated, he said, adding that he was fascinated by Plenković’s claim that rival broadcasters had colluded to devalue the HDZ’s candidate for Zagreb mayor.
Stephen Bartulica of the Homeland Movement said that media were possibly responsible for the latest developments because they had been very mild towards Plenković from the start.
“I definitely support media freedoms and it is not unusual that media in Croatia and the rest of the world are leaning to the left, but I think that what is more important here are the so-called independent analysts who often have material interests and certain relations with political camps and NGOs and who act in public as if they were unbiased,” said Bartulica.
The sole MP of the Reformists party, Natalija Martinčević, who chairs the parliamentary Media Committee, said that the prime minister was very nervous, which she considers inappropriate.
“Communication with the media must be civilised. We are all expected to behave that way and so is the prime minister. There is no justification for his behaviour,” she said.
Most MP Marija Selak Raspudić said that media had been the PM’s fetish for a long time.
“Let me remind you of his high school graduation thesis ‘Means of Mass Communication’ in which, apart from extensively quoting (Yugoslav Communist politician Edvard) Kardelj and Marx, he also says that the Party is the one to control all information in society. He then advocates some democratic trends and says that media should be democratised, but it seems that as an experienced politician he has accepted the principle that the Party should control all information and is surprised when he does not manage to do it,” said Selak Raspudić.
HSLS MP Dario Hrebak said that every politician had their own style of communication, noting that the prime minister was evidently irritated by something.
“I, too, am sometimes unhappy with the media but everyone has the right to say what they think, I would not be a liberal if I thought differently,” he said, adding that he believed the prime minister would mend his relationship with the media and some reporters.
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