Ilko Ćimić: It’s obviously the official policy of the president according to which she doesn’t want to answer questions of public interest
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Translation: Fairpress
Yesterday news portal Index.hr reported that they didn’t receive an invitation to the press conference of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on the occasion of the presenting of two years of her term and that they weren’t the only media outlet that wasn’t invited to it, because the Office of the President selectively called individual journalists. On the official website of the Office of the President there was no announcement of the press conference on the occasion of the said event.

Regarding this case of selection in sending out invitations to journalists and media outlets, a reaction came from the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND); they warned that the president of the Republic of Croatia has no right to invite only selected journalists at a press conference. HND deems scandalous the fact that “more than a few editorial staffs complained to HND that journalists who were chosen by President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović and her Office were directly invited to today’s press conference”.

While not questioning the professionalism of the invited journalists to the press conference, we think that such an action is an intolerable outmaneuvering of good, democratic traditions. The editorial staffs were not even officially informed, so that they could decide on which journalist to send out to report on the event, which we feel is a direct interference in the autonomy of the media. The fact that on her official websites there is no notice about it also goes in support of the secrecy of sorts, of convening a press conference about the two-year term of the president of the Republic of Croatia, it was emphasised by HND.

They also stressed that “the practice of convening

press conferences has to be in such a way that all editorial staffs are informed of it, without any exceptions, it mustn’t be selective and a result of politicians’ preferences”.

Journalist of Index.hr news portal, Ilko Ćimić, who was recently called out by the Office of the President that he “abused the institute of the Right of Access to Information”, said for Fairpress that no matter how surprised we are with such actions and similar ones from Pantovčak, “it’s obviously the official policy of the president according to which she doesn’t want to answer questions of public interest”.

Unfortunately for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović we aren’t a monarchy, nor is she the queen; we are a country that has legally and constitutionally defined rights and obligations for people who are elected at parliamentary, presidential and local elections. We’ve seen constant and deliberate violation of the Media Act and the Right of access to information, as well as favouring certain journalists, during the rule of Ivo Sanader; now, the question is if they share, apart from the same political party, the same motives for such behaviour, said Ćimić.

From the actions of her Office and the the untimely informing of the public, the president should come to the conclusion of something and make improvements within her Office and the way it informs the public about its activities. Denying an invitation to editorial staffs, which published critical articles about the president, is unacceptable and harmful for public interest.

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