It is a political responsibility, primarily of the ones that are currently in the position of power, the fact that they enabled – by actions or oversights – for the HRT not to represent a public media service we deserve, but to serve in enabling the relativisation and normalisation of the instances not welcome in the democratic society.
In Europe, never has a part of the opposition joined the boycott of a public media service started by civil society organisations and syndicates. This definitely is a political question, Jelena Berković, the executive director of Gong pointed out. “If HDZ thinks it is responsible for the state of this country in the last 30 years, then it should take responsibility for the situation surrounding the HRT: they have to allow the reporters to do their job in conditions that enable professionalism – remove themselves from directing the media, but also choose competent people that will spend the public money with transparency and credibility.”
“When we exposed huge corruption affairs and stories on theft in road building and other sectors, first we published, then we reported – even then we believed that the media will protect us better than the police,” Mijat Stanić, the president of the Independent Road Workers Union reminded.
“For ten years the Croatian Film Directors' Guild (DHFR) has been saying that the HRT does not comply with the percentage of the independent production, that it does not show the programme budget transparently and accurately, that it has unclear procedures for ordering outside production programmes and that it does not honour the rights of authors producing the programme. Because of everything stated, we do not believe that the HRT acts as a public service,” Antonio Nuić, the president of the Croatian Film Directors’ Guild pointed out in his written message. He added, “The DHFR has terminated its cooperation with the HRT and does not intend to renew it until the stated problems are resolved. A public service system is a system that functions successfully in all the developed European countries. It is a system that left valuable works to our audiovisual heritage. The DHFR will do everything for the public service to function in accordance with the legal regulations of the Republic of Croatia and good European practices.”
“The complaints directed to the reporters mean that one of the values that the HRT should honour is being broken, and that is universality: that everyone, everywhere and in every way has the ability to express and exchange different points of view and ideas,” Nikola Baketa, the member of the programming council of HRT warned. He is worried that the HRT deviates from the mission goals it agreed upon in the Contract with the government that came into effect in early 2018. Anyway, as Baketa mentioned, in 2017 the draft of the Rulebook on social media suggested that the members of the programming council should ask for an approval from the administration for their posts on social media. The programming council already successfully appealed that, but, as Baketa pointed out, “the thing that has been enabled to us, should not be denied to other reporters.”
How exactly do we enforce the boycott?
The organisations and syndicates that started the boycott of the HRT on February 18, 2019, have decided to boycott the HRT in the following ways:
1. We DO NOT give statements to the HRT (radio, television or portal)
2. We DO NOT participate in the HRT programmes
3. We DO NOT invite the HRT to public events we organise.
BUT, if the HRT crew shows up at our public event, we allow them access, i.e., we respect their right to do their job in a public space. We cannot and do not want to ban the reporters to film the events in a public space, but we can deny to give (special) statements to the HRT.
We invite all other interested organisations, syndicates, institutions and other legal entities in the Republic of Croatia to join our initiative, show solidarity and participate in the boycott of the HRT up until the reporters’ strike.
We invite all those who want to join the boycott to post it on the Facebook event page or Twitter (#novinarstvonedamo, #povucitetuzbe), on their social media and/or official websites.
See you at the reporters’ strike on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 12:05 in front of the headquarters of the Croatian Journalists Association!
SIGNATORIES (by name in Croatian):
CESI – Centar za edukaciju, savjetovanje i istraživanje (CESI – Center for Education, Counseling and Research)
Centar za mirovne studije (Centre for Peace Studies – CPS)
Centar za ženske studije (Centre for Women’s Studies)
Documenta - Centar za suočavanje s prošlošću (Documenta - Center for dealing with the past)
Društvo hrvatskih filmskih redatelja (DHFR) (Croatian Film Directors' Guild (DHFR))
Hrvatsko novinarsko društvo (Croatian Journalists' Association)
Inicijativa mladih za ljudska prava (Youth Initiative for Human Rights)
IPE - Institut za političku ekologiju (Institute for Political Ecology (IPE))
Koordinacija ženskih grupa SEKA
Kuća ljudskih prava Zagreb (Human Rights House Zagreb)
Kurziv - Platforma za pitanja kulture, medija i društva (Kurziv – Platform for Matters of Culture, Media and Society)
Mreža mladih Hrvatske (Croatian Youth Network)
Nezavisni cestarski sindikat (Independent Road Workers Union)
Ženska mreža Hrvatske (Women’s Network Croatia)
After the civil society initiative, political parties and initiatives joined the HRT boycott:
Klub nezavisnih zastupnika (Bojan Glavašević, Marko Vučetić, Tomislav Žagar)
Gong is a Centre of Knowledge in the area of Civil Activism and the Building of Democratic Institutions within the framework of Development Cooperation with the National Foundation for Civil Society Development.