European Broadcasting Union (EBU)recommends improvements for media freedom in Croatia. A new joint report on media freedom in Croatia has recommended reforming the legislation governing EBU Member HRT to guarantee the broadcaster’s independence.
The report also recommends changing the method of appointing the HRT director general and other HRT governing structures in line with European standards on public service media.
A joint mission of representatives from the EBU together with the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), the Association of European Journalists (AEJ), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and Reporters without Borders (RSF) visited Croatia in January 2018.
They noted that although the media freedom situation in the country had improved since an initial visit in June 2016, further progress was needed.
The report advises that HRT should consider the creation of an internal council to serve as a watchdog over HRT’s independence. It recommends that political parties of all colours must also refrain from interfering with the editorial policy of HRT. The report also calls for lawmakers to include HRT’s own journalists in debates on a new HRT law and must increase the role of those journalists, civil society and consumers in the selection of the broadcaster’s management.
Wider recommendations include:
- Updating legal provisions providing for transparency of media ownership to ensure a sufficient framework for monitoring and compliance.
- Authorities must conduct comprehensive investigations into all unsolved cases of physical attacks on journalists that happened in the past
- Politicians, journalists and public figures must refrain from participating in, supporting or being perceived as supporters of smear campaigns or hateful rhetoric against journalists and the media.
- Politicians must condemn such campaigns and rhetoric when they occur.
- Journalist organisations (associations and unions) should refrain from political activism and should uphold standards of professionalism and collegiality in their public activities.
The full report can be read here.