Croatian Journalists' Association (CJA) welcomes the fact that the Croatian President has accepted our frequent requests for politicians to have press conferences instead of communicating with the press through press releases without possibility of putting questions. But at the same time we find the fact that just some journalists, selected by the President and her Office, have been asked to attend today's Press Conference to be shocking. We have received complaints about it from several editorial boards. We want to add that no foreign correspondent has been invited to the Conference.
Not questioning professionalism of chosen journalists, we find that procedure to be inadmissible deception of democratic practice. Namely, not all editorial boards were officially informed about the Conference, so they were not able to decide on journalists, their representatives at it. We find it to be direct obstruction of media autonomy. About that Press Conference called due to two years of the President's term, there was certain secrecy – it was no information about it even at the President's official web site.
We find that about press conferences all editorial boards, without any exceptions, should be informed; that list should not be the result of politicians' preferences. If not so, there is potential distrust about the reasons for press conferences - that they might be organized just to show pro-forma openness and at the same time to avoid potentially embarrassing questions of uninvited journalists.
Saša Leković, CJA president for the CJA Executive Committee