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New president of the Parliamentary Committee on Media: It’s sad to listen and watch how much animosity was created toward the new Minister of Culture; President of HND: The Minister dissolved the Commission for Non-Profit Media contrary to the regulations

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After the new Minister of Culture, Zlatko Hasanbegović, dissolved the Expert Commission for Non-Profit Media, on Wednesday 27 January this year, without any explanation and contrary to the regulations, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND), the Croatian P.E.N. centre and Platforma 112 held a press conference “Where are you going Croatia” on 29 January on which they asked for the dismissal of Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović and once again warned on the threat to freedom of expression, human rights, and the attack on democratic institutions. Further, on the 30 January the Corps of Internet Journalists supported the actions of the new Minister of Culture via a press release in which they emphasized that up until now the Commission for Non-Profit Media has stood out for non-transparent work and conflict of interest; they also asked for an urgent meeting of the Central Committee of the Croatian Journalists` Association (HND) and accused the President of HND, Saša Leković, that he is trying to do “staffing in the government”.

The new elected president of the Parliamentary Committee on Information, Computerisation and the Media, Andrija Mikulić, commented for Fairpress the whole situation and the reactions which followed in the public on the occasion of appointing Minister Hasanbegović and the dismissal of the Expert Commission for Non-Profit Media:

Minister Hasanbegović, as I’ve already said, acted in accordance with the law and with his authority. It’s sad to listen and watch how much animosity was created toward the new Minister of Culture. Namely, given that according to the new budget for 2016 there is no need for the existence of the former Commission, I don’t see the reason behind such aggressive reactions of the representatives of those portals and the members of the Commission themselves too. If their content is of such high quality and contributes to the development of democracy in our society, then they have no reason to worry. Tenders for the allocation of funds to non-profit media are not there for a handful of those who write in accordance with the ruling ideology, but are there for all of those who take part in the Croatian cultural scene and who contribute to the development of democracy and the interests of Croatia.

President of the Croatian Journalists’ Association, Saša Leković, stressed for Faipress that mister Hasanbegović, while he was not yet minister, said on the Croatian Television (HTV) show “Otvoreno” that anti-fascism is a platitude and put in question anti-fascism as one of the basic guidelines of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia.

He has no experience in running large systems as the Ministry of Culture is and he also hasn’t got any experience regarding media policy,

media legislation or media in general, even though that is what the Ministry he is head of deals with, among other things. The Minister ideologically disqualified the intellectual debates on the third program of the Croatian Radio and said that the media are a burden to the Ministry. Last but not least, the Minister dissolved the Commission for Non-profit Media contrary to the regulations which regulate that matter and then he claimed in public that he has done everything in accordance with the regulations.

Furthermore, Leković said that the Central Committee of HND didn’t confirm the foundation of the Corps of Internet Journalists, which confirms that that Corps formally doesn’t exist:

Even if the Corps did exist, it is contrary to the regulations on the work of HND for any corps or branch to send out public press releases independently, without the approval of the president who is the chosen representative of HND. Additionally, the statute od HND was also violated as was the Code of Ethics of Croatian journalists, because in the press release of the “Corps” I was attacked – it said that I defined the position of HND ideologically and politically by commenting on the dissolvement of the Committee for media by the Minister. The thing is, as authorized representative of HND, I just said that the Minister dissolved the Commission contrary to the regulations, which is the truth.

Zdenko Duka, one of the members of the dissolved Expert Commission for Non-profit Media and former president of HND, said for Fairpress that he still hasn’t received the dismissal, emphasizing that it happened because of the letter of Ms Željka Markić sent to the Minister and that the two of them obviously had an agreement.

I haven’t received the dismissal. From the email sent to me by my colleague, it’s evident that there is no explanation. This happened after an incoherent letter was sent by Ms Željka Markić to the new Minister, which is full of lies. The two of them obviously had an agreement. The Minister dismisses without any review of the work of the Commission, which operated with maximum transparency. I think what he has done is illegal, it will be talked about still.

On 1 February a session of the Committee on Education, Science and Culture was supposed to be held regarding the dismissal of the Commission for Non-profit Media, convened by its’ president, Gordana Rusak, but it wasn’t held due to lack of quorum, as reported by the media.

Read more about it: The new Minister of Culture, Zlatko Hasanbegović, dissolved the Expert Commission for Non-Profit Media: Kursar: This is the first I’ve heard of this. The Minister obviously has his own vision.

 

 

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