To recall, at the session held on 15 July of this year, the Electronic Media Council, consisting of Mirjana Rakić (president of the Council), Robert Tomljenović, Gordana Simonović, Suzana Kunac, Vesna Roller and Alemka Lisinski (members of the Council), determined that the content of the portal Fairpress.eu „is not in accordance with the criteria defined in the Media Act, Ordinance on the Register of Providers of Media Services, Electronic Publications and Non – Profit Producers of Audiovisual and/or Radio Programmes and Recommendation on the entry of Providers of Media Services, Electronic Publications and Non – Profit Producers of Audiovisual and/or Radio Programmes since it is not a media according to provisions of the Media Act“
Furthermore, nowhere in the explanation of the decision, did the Electronic Media Council state which criteria exactly Fairpress.eu does not meet, i.e. based on what was the registration of the portal denied.
After a series of phone calls and inquiries sent via e-mail to receive an explanation of the Decision on rejecting the registration of the portal Fairpress.eu in the Register of Providers of Media Services, on 3 August, we received an answer from the Electronic Media Agency saying that “after looking at the content of the electronic publication, the Council concluded that it doesn’t satisfy all the criteria for the registration in the Register determined by the Recommendation on the entry of Providers of Electronic Publications in the Register of Providers of Media Services, Electronic Publications and Non – Profit Producers of Audiovisual and/or Radio Programmes (Official Gazette 109/14) since the electronic publication doesn’t publish a minimum of three in-house articles per week.”.
The president of the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND), Saša Leković, commented for Fairpress:
Vice president of HND, Denis Romac, believes that the Electronic Media Council has to reconsider its decision:
I don’t understand the rejection that Fairpress received considering the facts that I’m familiar with, including the one of the threein-house articles per week; I emphasize that I asked the Electronic Media Council for an explanation.
The example you are mentioning is just another reason why the Electronic Media Agency, if it cares about its own credibility, has
Namely, there is no doubt that the records of the providers of media services through the Register of Providers of Media Services, as was envisioned by the legislator, has a formal character and should not be a means of elimination of certain providers of media services and favouring others. That’s completely absurd and pointless, even for our media legislation, which is full of inconsistencies and oversights. What’s even more absurd in this story is that Fairpress, from its beginnings, is engagingly following and covering the media situation in Croatia and the neighbouring countries, and represents a truly unique and precious example of a media whose priorities are media freedom and pluralism of media. That is exactly what, at least in principle, should be the priority of the Electronic Media Agency.”
to urgently reconsider its rejection of Fairpress and change its decision.
Journalist from the portal Index.hr, Ilko Ćimić, commented for Fairpress:
Former vice president of HND and current journalist of the portal Telegram.hr, Ana Raić-Knežević:
Considering the alarming, almost criminal situation in Croatian media where hate speech and calls for lynching are being spread like a tide, it’s unbelievable that the Electronic Media Agency is throwing its weight around in the case of Fairpress which focuses on monitoring everything relevant that is happening in journalism in this region. The explanation about threein-house articles per week that the Agency refers to is even below the level of the inefficient, bulky and malevolent Croatian bureaucratic apparatus, that the only thing that comes to mind is that there may be some personal animosity involved towards a person or persons who are connected to Fairpress.
That process should be transparent and in agreement with HND and the wider media profession the rules of registration in the Register of Providers of Media Services should be redefined. That process should be publicly available and subjected to public inputs and not as we’ve witnessed in several cases that we are dealing with a nearly discretionary decision of the Electronic Media Council. Moreover because of the fact that the registration in the Register of Providers of Media Services is connected with certain public tenders for granting incentives of the local authorities, depending on whether a certain portal is in the Register of the Council. That is completely arbitrarily included in tenders and in my opinion represents a possibility for manipulation with resources, as well as with the registration in the Book of Providers of Media Publications.