OSCE media freedom representative concerned by Croatian public broadcaster HRT practice to silence critical journalists
VIENNA, 8 May 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, said today she was very concerned that HRT, the Croatian Public Service Broadcaster, would dismiss journalists critical of the media freedom situation in Croatia.
“It is more than alarming that the public service broadcaster is using this draconian practice in order to silence journalists,” Mijatović said. “It should be a public service broadcaster’s role to highlight topics of public interest, and declining press freedom is undoubtedly a very important issue, key to any democracy and certainly key to any independent public service media.”
HRT journalist Elizabeta Gojan is facing dismissal for having given an interview on 3 May, Press Freedom Day, to Deutsche Welle on media freedom in Croatia. Previously, Gojan received warnings, including after having given an interview in her capacity as the president of the managing board of the Croatian Journalists’ Association. Another HRT journalist and editor of the show “Croatia Life”, Maja Sever, is also facing disciplinary sanctions for allegedly being unbalanced in the selection of guests for her show.
“The developments at HRT show that there is indeed a serious problem with the perception of media freedom and freedom of expression in Croatia. This is not how media in a democratic society, let alone, independent public media, should be handling critical voices,” Mijatović said.
“I call upon the HRT management to urgently revise its worrisome practice in order to re-establish trust with journalists and its audience.”