Although the HRT show „Croatia live“ was supposed to be on the HRT1 program and in spite of the facts that the budget for its production was covered until January 2018 and journalists and editors of the show invited to participate the ceremonial presentation of the new HRT autumn program, „Croatia live“ was dropped out of the program at the last minute.
Croatian Journalists' Association (CJA) strongly condemns this procedure and finds it to be just further suppression of professionalism by eliminating and marginalizing the show produced by the News Program, the show that reached its public and was done in the public interest. CJA also condemns harassment of journalists and editors who refuse to obey Program and Business Management that systematically ruins the very idea of HRT as public media service.
The explanation of dropping out „Croatia live“ show given by HRT Management – that apparently tele-viewers complained about too much politics in the show – is comic, if not tragic for at least four reasons. One is, as already mentioned, that „Croatia live“ was on the program and then suddenly was dropped out.
The second reason is that „Croatia live“ covered mostly topics related to social services, health, rights of most vulnerable groups in the society, union topics, civil society and cultural events. Daily politics was covered just by some direct report from, for example, the Parliament, bringing news and comments of the Parliament members regarding recent topics.
To refer to alleged protests of tele-viewers (not supported by any facts) and in the same time to ignore massive protests of the same tele-viewers because of Sunday masses used by some priests for political speeches and because of poor quality of News Program (central daily show “Dnevnik”) we find to be pure and evident manipulation.
And at last but not least, very easily checked data about average scope of „likes“ on „Croatia live“ web page (nearly 500.00 and 40.000 „likes“) indicate that „Croatia live“ is more active and influential then web pages HRT News and My HRT, produced by 20 people in HRT New Media section. To cut it short, it is nonsense to claim that viewers do not like „Croatia live“.
At the last minute even the show „Labirint“ (political magazine dealing with home policy) has been transferred from HTV1 to HTV4 channel without any explanation although it was scheduled for HTV 1, Monday, 20.00. It is evident that both shows („Croatia live“ and „Labirint“) are edited and led by „unsuitable“ journalists, very often attacked and not being protected by HRT Management.
Latest example is vulgar „celebration“ of dropping out „Croatia live“ show at Facebook - Petar Škorić, Parliament member and vice-president of Parliament Committee for internal policy and national security, offended and humiliated journalist Maja Sever, one of show editors at his Facebook post.
Just after Tomislav Karamarko had become the Croatian vice-Prime Minister and Zlatko Hasanbegović the Minister of Culture in the same Government, when more than 70 editors, journalists, producers and other creative staff had been replaced with new persons without any professional need or explanation, CJA alerted public of potential derogation of professionalism and quality of HRT program, especially its News Program, to possibly lowest level in history of independent Croatia. And that has become true.
Just for some „cosmetic“ changes, most of editors and program managers who came to their positions at that time perform their jobs unprofessionally even today, with new Parliament and new Government. CJA is regularly informed about constant harassment of „unsuitable“ journalists, not only in Zagreb, but in other HRT centers.
Even the Parliament decision of dismissing of the HRT Supervising Committee implicates that interest of rulers is not HRT as professional public service but service that will support their political interest. Namely, the Supervising Committee was dismissed after revealing serious irregularities in HRT business transactions, including illegitimate contracts for external productions and other program related irregularities.
Saša Leković, CJA president for CJA Executive Board