HRVOJE ZOVKO: THE PROBLEM OF LOCAL SHERIFFS, SUPPRESSING REAL INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IN ISTRIA, IS EVIDENT, PERHAPS EVEN MORE SO THAN IN ANY OTHER PART OF CROATIA

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Source/Author: istra24.hr
Source/Photo: Dean Mladenović/istra24.hr

HRVOJE ZOVKO: THE PROBLEM OF LOCAL SHERIFFS, SUPPRESSING REAL INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IN ISTRIA, IS EVIDENT, PERHAPS EVEN MORE SO THAN IN ANY OTHER PART OF CROATIA

“Funding Media from the Budget: Media Freedoms and Local Politics” was the title of a panel discussion held last night at the Social Center Rojc. The panel was organized by the Croatian Journalists’ Association and the branch of the Croatian Journalists’ Association in Istria, with Hrvoje Zovko, President of the Croatian Journalists’ Association, and Chiara Bilić, Vice President of the Croatian Journalists’ Association and President of the Branch of the Croatian Journalists’ Association in Istria, serving as moderators, reported by istra24.hr.

During the panel, speeches were given by the Mayor of Pazin, Suzana Jašić, the Head of the Administrative Department for Culture and Heritage of the Istrian County, Vladimir Torbica, the Head of the Administrative Department for General Affairs and Social Activities of the Municipality of Medulin, Suzana Racan Stern, Darko Saftić, the Head of the Administrative Department for General Administration of the City of Poreč, and Ivana Pleić from the Administrative Department for Public Needs and Social Activities of the City of Makarska, as an example of a local unit outside Istria County that has adopted the CJA’s models and recommendations for funding local media.

After the panel, the President of the Croatian Journalists’ Association, Hrvoje Zovko, expressed dissatisfaction with a discouraging fact, namely, that none of the responsible officials from the City of Pula attended the panel.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the non-attendance of the Mayor of Pula and his associates, who, by their absence, showed how little they care about the public interest.

“It is unbelievable that representatives of other local units come to the largest Istrian city, while the official representatives of the City of Pula ignored it. They are full of declarations about transparency, but when it comes to fulfilling their duty and appearing to answer questions, they are nowhere to be found. The citizens of this county pay them. Perhaps they would have to face uncomfortable questions, so they avoided it. They were the ones who announced the implementation of CJA’s models, and we know how that went in the City of Pula, shamefully,” said Zovko.

The President of the CJA praised the progress compared to last year because representatives of the County, cities, and municipalities in Istria expressed readiness to implement the CJA’s models within their capabilities.

He confirmed that there are still unresolved issues, but he sees it as an expression of goodwill, and he announced that representatives of local self-government will be held to their promises and the situation will be assessed in a year at the same place.

“The problem of local sheriffs, the problem of suppressing real investigative journalism in Istria, is evident, perhaps even more so than in any other part of Croatia. It is constantly said that Istria is the most progressive part of Croatia, but when you look at the media scene, you can see that it is far from progressive and that there is a political darkness reigning. Things are simply arranged behind the scenes, paid propaganda for someone’s image is arranged, and for us from the Croatian Journalists’ Association, that is unacceptable,” said Zovko.

Zovko also mentioned the fact that only one city in Istria is willing to implement the CJA’s criteria, which is Pazin, while some other places in Croatia, such as Makarska, Split, and Zagreb, are already doing so.

“Therefore, the branch of the CJA in Istria, and the CJA at the national level, will continue to insist that the units of local government and self-government in Istria County apply the CJA’s criteria because we need to put an end to the policy that local sheriffs behave as if the media are their bulletin board,” said Zovko, adding about the non-attendance of Mayor Zoričić at the panel:

“Perhaps the Mayor of Pula was busy writing a column for the daily newspaper Glas Istre, so he didn’t have time to attend the panel, and that is disappointing for the City of Pula,” Zovko concluded.

Source: istra24.hr.

Photo: Dean Mladenović/istra24.hr.