GENERAL DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
adopted and promulgated at the United Nations General Assembly by Resolution no. 217 / III
December 10, 1948
72 YEARS LATER …
Every society is strong only insofar as its democracy is strong, and its strength is seen in the state of human rights. They were written down as positive values of the human race after the horrors of World War II, that such horrors would never happen again.
The Declaration of Human Rights was adopted at a time when more people were considered personally free than ever before in human history. The power of that freedom was carried on the wings of the people’s victory over historical thugs.
It is based on the recognition that “all members of the human family have the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights that are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
The Declaration recalls in its preamble that “disrespect and neglect of human rights have resulted in barbaric acts that offend the conscience of humanity and the possibility of building a world in which human beings will enjoy freedom of speech and belief and be free from fear and poverty.”
The rule of law in the Declaration of Human Rights has the task of protecting these rights “so that man does not have to resort to the ultimate means of combating tyranny and oppression” and that instead of conflict the relationship between nations is built on friendship.
Today, at the end of 2020, when we are in a climate crisis, a global coronavirus epidemic, when people who were excluded from the Declaration of Human Rights due to a different skin color and religion are freezing at our external borders, when ethics and virtue have long since disappeared from behavior political elites, with the aim of marking December 10, International Human Rights Day, we take this opportunity to remind that human rights are increasingly just a dead letter on paper, rather than an active social value around which we build our civilizational practices.
Our role as journalists is our response to the call to fight for the public good, for those whose voice does not reach the general public. The media are degraded and humiliated today, just as is the fate of other values from the Declaration of Human Rights.
We media are just symptoms of the state of any democracy, its review and mirror. Despite the guarantee that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression” to the extent that it does not violate the rights of others, our rights to free expression are increasingly limited by the right of elites not to be interfered with.
This phenomenon is so pervasive that today it is defined as SLAPP lawsuits that serve only to silence journalists. And the problem of silencing journalists is spreading across Europe like a virus, while some have paid for the public media function of informing the public with their lives, such as a Jan Kuciak and Daphne Caruana Galizia and many more who died because theywere just doing their job.
Forms of censorship and self-censorship, direct and subtle, have taken so many forms that they are becoming increasingly difficult to recognize. Sometimes the existential fear becomes so great that our obligation to inform the public accurately and in a timely manner falls into the background, while the obligation to meet primary human needs comes to the fore.
The consequence is that we are reluctant to participate in marketing tricks: from sensationalism and depoliticization of society, to passive acceptance of imposed topics that do not interest the public, while on the other hand there are no topics that the public must but do not get a chance to hear. In short, neither you who consume them nor we who live them are satisfied with the media.
The long-standing political ignorance of the media and the total lack of media policies have been collapsing the sector for ten years, eroding its public function and failing to inform the public. The government’s acute financial injections into the national media sectors this year have proven that the situation in the media has reached a critical point and needs to change.
The Declaration also guarantees the right to freedom of association, which in practice is completely constrained, and in some places is reduced to a secret and subversive act. In many media outlets, we witness that employers are hostile to the establishment of trade unions in their newsrooms, in direct violation of Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The protest action warns of the situation in the media exposed to attacks, precarious conditions, lack of political will to ensure “freedom to seek, receive and disseminate information”, which is visible in the refusal to respect the opinion of the profession in adopting the legal framework, the absence of a national collective agreement support for collective bargaining in the sector.
For the 72nd birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we bring you seventy-two reminders on the state of the media in Croatia.
1. Outdated legislation does not meet the needs of modern journalism
2. There is no media strategy
3. There is no modern proposal for the Law on Media; the current Law is a dead letter on paper
4. Half of journalism jobs have been permanently lost in the last 10 years
5. Wages in the sector have halved in the last 10 years
6. Joining unions is prevented
7. Trade union representatives are punished
8. Political parties have secretly and indirectly bought influential and critical media
9. The choice of topics depends on the needs of the advertising market and not on the needs of society; blackmail of advertisers
10. The level of general information through the media has dropped
11. Critical media have been sanctioned in the last two terms of the HDZ
12. The Ministry of Culture and Media is part of the problem because there is no staff who understands the media
13. Bodies that allocate funds to the media are elected politically; The government is not giving up on taking care of its people in the Electronic Media Council
14. There is not enough public support for quality journalism!
15. Tenders are late, irregular and non-transparent
16. Insufficient funds in the Pluralism Fund
17. Non-transparently distributed public funds from the ESF mainly to eligible media, not to media that implement the inclusion of vulnerable groups in society
18. The Ministry of Culture and Media consciously and systematically ignores non-profit media
19. Non-profit producers deleted from the Pluralism Fund
20. Lack of idea and strategy for public service development
21. Censorship on the public broadcasting service was also confirmed at the court level
22. The public service broadcaster prosecutes its own employees
23. The HRT Law provides for political control of the public service
24. Media statutes are a dead letter on paper
25. The management of Novi list violates the statute of the media without any sanctions by appointing an acting editor-in-chief without any qualifications already in the third term
26. Ownership of private media remains obscure and non-transparent
27. Local sheriffs are allowed to dominate the local television scene, so local televisions do not perform their public function at all, but are an extended lever of power
28. The government is reducing the minimum quotas of local news on the radio!
29. Editors cannot reject the order of the media owner, journalists cannot participate in the election of the editor – there is no media statute in the Law on Electronic Media, there is no mechanism for the one in the Law on Media if it is not respected
30. The principle of building a cable car in the media: they receive a broadcasting concession on the basis of a program basis which, according to the Electronic Media Act, they can then change as they wish.
31. The justice system is regularly used as a means of putting pressure on journalists
32. At least 905 lawsuits against journalists and media worth HRK 68 million
33. SLAPP lawsuits as a means of intimidation and silence of journalists as an instrument of prominent members of political structures
34. Pressure and intimidation coming from the public service broadcaster through a lawsuit against the president of the CJA branch on HRT
35. Pressure and intimidation coming from the public service broadcaster through a lawsuit against the CJA president
36. SLAPP lawsuits against the Telegram.hr portal from prominent members of the ruling party
37. SLAPP lawsuits against the Virovitica.net portal as an attempt to silence the local media
38. Withdrawal of support to the Virovitica.net portal as a continuation of the destruction of the local media
39. SLAPP-lawsuits against OG-portal.
40. The former Vice-President of the Croatian Parliament sued, inter alia, 24 hours for failure to publish a statement, although the statement was published
41. A series of SLAPP lawsuits against the Index.hr portal
42. Only 2 new collective agreements have been renewed and signed on the media scene. In the public media.
43. It is not acceptable to form a trade union in the commercial media, although this right is guaranteed by the Charter, the Constitution and the Labor Law.
44. The persecution of the trade union commissioner in Glas Istre continues
45. Trade union commissioners have been under pressure for years
46. The income of Hansa media journalists have been reduced
47. Local media in the hands of local sheriffs who turn the media into advertising publications of their “successes”
48. Not all bullies and attackers on journalists are found and prosecuted!
49. N1 journalist attacked while doing her job.
50. A journalist from Slobodna Dalmacija was attacked while doing her job.
51. Journalists insulted at the press conference by the Mayor of Zagreb
52. Two freelance journalists were attacked while doing their job
53. Journalist exposed to inappropriate “jokes” of the Prime Minister
54. The journalist was verbally attacked by the Mayor of Rijeka
55. Hate speech against journalists on banners and graffiti “journalists are worms”
56. Threats on banners “death to journalists”
57. Threats and hate speech towards N1 journalist
58. Threats to N1 journalists
59. Threats to the journalist of the Index.hr portal by government representatives
60. Arrest of journalists of the Index.hr portal
61. Threats to Slobodna Dalmacija journalists over a text about a wedding at the time of the pandemic
62. Attack on the journalist of the Dalmatian portal in front of the church
63. Attack on camerawoman N1
64. The practice of politicians to accuse the media of bad news
65. Authority that does not enable and slows down access to information; government and ministry spokespersons do not respond to press inquiries
66. Politicians try to bribe journalists
67. Sensationalism and the struggle for click and profit in front of honest and truthful journalism
68. The Ministry of Interior Affairs accuses journalists and the media reporting on police violence at the border of failing to tell the truth despite ample evidence of violence
69. Precarious working conditions and fixed-term contracts or copyright agreements for young journalists as a means of existential blackmail
70. Lack of a national collective agreement to protect all workers in the media sector
71. A Copyright Law is proposed that will have significant negative consequences for the rights of authors, especially journalists and photojournalists.
72. Women continue to earn less in the media sector than men in the same job. On average, men in Croatia earn 13,572 kuna more annually than women, or 1.68 average Croatian gross salary more.
Foto #1 Slivar Dominić/Hina
Foto #2,3,4,5 Maja Sever