Just hours after declaring the HDZ's colossal victory in the local elections, Prime Minister Plenković, unchallenged, once again attacked the media, accusing them of being "mercenaries who disgust one's political option", that journalists in the debates in the first election round, deliberately mispronounced the name of the HDZ candidate for Zagreb mayor Davor Filipovic, and additionally he called analyst and professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb Drazen Lalic a mercenary who appeared on television to slander HDZ candidates. When asked by N1 television journalist Elvir Mešanović why he never responded to the invitation for an interview on that television, Plenković boldly replied "that (N1) should write a poster declaring what ideological television they are".
Citizens and voters will decide for themselves why the HDZ president is looking for the causes of the defeat of his mayoral candidate, who was not even close to the second round, instead of looking in his political mirror, right now, after the magnificent election success.
As the largest professional and trade union organizations that gather journalists in Croatia, we consider inadmissible, open threats from the position of the most powerful man in the country, Prime Minister Plenković sent to all our colleagues and the media that are not on his, and HDZ's ideological line. Declaring mercenaries all those who critically approach candidates before elections and labeling them as "those who dishonor for money" is not a discourse used by politicians, let alone prime ministers of civilized and democratic European Union countries.
This is not the first time that Andrej Plenković has directed his vengeful threatening finger at journalists who are not to his liking and will, accusing them of even waging a hybrid war against him personally and the HDZ, trying to impose himself as the only possible editor-in-chief of all Croatian a media that, according to him, should look, act, be professional, objective and independent like Crotian Radio television (HRT), which he surprisingly, never pronounces.
To claim that on commercial television, journalists are deliberately demonizing failed HDZ candidates for money, to declare a university professor and a guest commentator a mercenary, and journalists mispronouncing the name of until yesterday anonymous HDZ member to be tendentious, who do so "intentionally in order to giggle and laugh ", show only the open ambitions of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and HDZ to fully control public space and determine the limits of media freedoms in Croatia.
"I will keep pronouncing those, who are they to do it to the Croatian public?" - in the manner of the Colossus of Rhodes, Andrej Plenković will now, with a torch in hand, illuminate enemies and mercenaries by decree determining what is publicly allowed to think and speak. We remind you that in the time of the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman after the HDZ defeats, we had "green, yellow and red devils", and today, in Plenković's time, we have "leftist commentators" and "ideological television".
Exactly a week ago, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, together with European Council President Charles Michel, described the Belarusian landing of a civilian plane and the arrest of journalist and opposition activist Roman Protasevic as "an unprecedented and inadmissible move that requires an international investigation". We, Croatian journalists, do not expect anything more or less from Andrej Plenković than that he treats us and our professional freedoms as much as he publicly treats those of his Belarusian colleagues. Otherwise, we can assess his public threats only as an "unremembered and inadmissible move" which, just like Lukashenko's, "requires an international investigation". In our case, even the prime minister's minimum of decency in the local public treatment of journalists would mean a colossal victory for democracy.
For the Executive Board of the Croatian Journalists' Association,
Hrvoje Zovko, president of CJA
For the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists,
Maja Sever, president of TUCJ