The CJA calls on Prime Minister Plenković to stop attacking journalists

Source/Author: CJA
Source/Photo: CJA

The Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) calls on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to refrain from constantly calling out journalists who – in the public interest – report on government affairs led by Plenković himself.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly accused journalists of leaking classified information, accused them of being corrupt, of publishing private correspondence between the appointed Chief State Attorney Ivan Turudić and former State Secretary Josipa Rimac for profit and “clicks”, and claimed that there is actually no public interest in publishing such information.

Similar rhetoric is employed by the Prime Minister when commenting on publications related to investigations by the EPPO, some branches of which have reached the Ministry of Culture and Media. He mentions “privileged journalists”, singles out a “handful of privileged journalists”, and accuses them of spinning.

By accusing journalists of corruption and publishing for the sake of “clicks”, the Prime Minister puts a target on journalists and exposes them to potential attacks. At the same time, unfounded accusations are made, which politicians, especially the highest state officials such as the Prime Minister, should avoid.

Prime Minister Plenković is not and cannot be the chief editor of Croatian media. The role of journalists and the media is to question individuals in positions of power and to point out irregularities in the system because that’s how they uphold democracy and hold those elected to public office accountable to the public.

Although the Prime Minister, through attempts to introduce the “Lex AP” and the appointment of the Chief State Attorney, continues with his autocratic capture of institutions that should oversee the authorities and be independent from them, he cannot prohibit journalists from doing their job in accordance with internationally accepted professional standards and democratic values, which they protect and promote in doing so.

For the Executive Board of the Croatian Journalists’ Association:

Hrvoje Zovko, President of the CJA

Chiara Bilić, Vice President of the CJA

Dragutin Hedl, Vice President of the CJA