CJA: Prime Minister’s Attack on N1 is unacceptable pressure on the media

Source/Author: CJA
Source/Photo: CJA

The brutal verbal attack by the President of the HDZ and the Government, Andrej Plenković, on N1 television is a dangerous indication of how the most powerful politician in Croatia will treat media that are not to his liking as the elections approach.

After an N1 journalist asked the Prime Minister if he feared that President Zoran Milanović might annul the appointment of the Chief State Attorney if he believed that procedures were not followed, Plenković responded in a manner reminiscent of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who daily confronts the same television in Serbia, accusing N1 in Croatia of working “semi-legally.” Such accusations support the fact that the Prime Minister has decided to launch an open attack and intimidate anyone who does not play the political tune he likes and who professionally does their job. For the Croatian Journalists’ Association and the Trade Union of Journalists of Croatia, such behavior is concerning and dangerous, both for the journalistic profession and the public interest, and deserves condemnation.

Prime Minister Plenković has been lecturing and insulting journalists for years and has a constant need to be the editor-in-chief of all Croatian media. Since he uses the term “semi-legal,” we ask him if he will be held accountable if someone interprets his words as an encouragement to go after our colleagues. And should we remind him that three years ago, N1 television requested obtaining a national concession?
When we add this attack to the persistent pushing of amendments to the Criminal Code, the so-called “Lex AP,” which will have disastrous consequences for the journalistic profession, and the candidacy of a person for the head of the State Attorney’s Office who would prosecute journalists and strongly advocates for the adoption of such laws, then there is a legitimate concern about who the Prime Minister’s next target will be. Until then, we remind him and all representatives of the government that the legislative framework of the Republic of Croatia is clear when it comes to media and their work. According to the Media Act, every media outlet operating in the Republic of Croatia has the right to freedom of work.

Hrvoje Zovko, President of the Croatian Journalists’ Association

Maja Sever, President of the Trade Union of Journalists of Croatia