HRT  for everyone, not just for them

“HRT  for everyone, not just for them” is the name of an action launched by the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists and  Croatian Journalists ‘Association, in which former and current HRT journalists wrote why they left the public media service and gave examples of censorship and pressure they experienced.

“The fight for an independent public service is a fight for democracy and free journalism. HRT is experiencing the biggest crisis so far. The former director was in custody for four months and is under serious charges for corruption. A new director was elected in a problematic procedure, in accordance with the problematic law. We asked colleagues who had worked for HRT for years why they left. And many have gone and made great careers in other media or other jobs. TUCJ and CJA, are inviting fellow journalists on HRT to raise their voices. Below are examples and testimonies of censorship and pressure, and some of the responses from journalists and editors, some of whom are anonymous:

“There is no censorship in the Croatian media, the judiciary is not a threat to them.” Obuljen Koržinek, N1, January 15, 2019.The president of CJA received a lawsuit from HRT for HRK 250,000 for violating HRT’s reputation and honor after he spoke publicly about the existence of censorship on HRT. The verdict of the Municipal Court in Zagreb confirmed that the president of the CJA rightly spoke about censorship.

The editor of IMS says to the executive editor of HTV4: “We are not dealing with HDZ, we are dealing with SDP”. She added: “My sources from the HDZ told me that political analysts are wrong in saying that the cases of Darko Milinović and Ivan Penava are topics of intra-party conflicts in the HDZ.”

Zoran Pehar:  You ask too much! The HRT director-general asked a journalist Zoran Pehar  to present his defense before the intentional termination of the employment contract due to the misconduct of the worker after the Ministry of the Interior complained to HRT that the journalist was asking too many questions about refugees and migrants.

Zoran Pehar: Because of you, they called from Pantovčak On another occasion, I was told through the editor’s superior to be careful what I commented on Twitter regarding the President of the Republic Kolinda Grabar Kitarović because, she said, they called from Pantovčak. When I said that all complaints should be sent to me in writing by e-mail, this topic was no longer mentioned.

Anonymous: We follow the ministers and do not ask anything I work in one of HRT’s bureaus. Our work is such that it is no longer possible to censor us. We mostly “fill” the daily news programs, whatever. If a citizen calls us with a real topic and problem, we hardly have a place to publish it. Working for the problematic show “Labyrinth” is considered a waste of time, because at the same time we “do not fill” daily shows. When a minister comes, now the HDZ, and earlier the SDP, we follow him all the time. We don’t ask any questions, we just hold the microphone. This is called “minister monitoring”. The “theme from tourism” comes down to listing the nights of guests, and we take statements from foreigners in which they say that they are satisfied on vacation. This job no longer requires journalists or education at all.

Anonymous: Only suitable and obedient people progress I spent 23 years on HTV. I changed three departments, I stayed in the last one for 13 years. I was a technician from day one. I retrained as a computer scientist at my own expense and, by chance, moved to the department where I spent the most time. Probably with their effort and commitment, the job and duties grew from the jobs of technicians to more complex and responsible jobs. Wages rose only because the job name changed. I never got a raise, I never got a promotion, except in the scope and responsibility of the job. Because I was good for it. The others who progressed were most suitable and obedient. It did not matter knowledge or education. The important thing is that you were good to the “right” people. Unfortunately, this is still the case today.

Anonymous: The answer to the question of HRT journalists was not published by HRT. The first visit to Berlin during the term of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. Due to a limited number of questions, journalists from domestic media outlets agree on what to ask at the press conference. The common conclusion is that the issues of public interest would be the dynamics of Euro-Atlantic integration in Southeast Europe and who will build the optical network for broadband internet in the Republic of Croatia – a consortium of Croatian companies or a private investor (T-com)? The issue was topical because the Bridge of Independent Lists (HDZ’s coalition partner at the time) was against the sale of strategic communication interests. Journalists estimate that there is a public interest in finding out if this has been discussed. HTV journalist at a press conference broadcast live by HTV4 asks the question, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Plenković answered. According to the journalist himself, five minutes after the press conference, his superior editor called him and, as he claims, started asking him who “ordered the question”. He replied that it was an agreement of all Croatian journalists who covered the meeting, to which she assessed that his question was stupid. As the journalist further states, the very awkward conversation lasted for some time. Shortly afterward, he was called by another senior editor, who now asked him to omit his own question about broadband and Chancellor Merkel’s and Prime Minister Plenković’s answers from a report for the central News cast. Other media published his question and answers to it. After this case, the mentioned journalist, otherwise a member of the Foreign Policy Bureau, did not go to the field for two years.

 Tena Perišin: The BBC is far away HRT is still a part of me. I remember the great things we did or at least tried to do to create a public service. And then there were fewer and fewer of those attempts. Even today, I believe in public service broadcasting, but it is very difficult for me (for example) to explain to my students what it is and what it should be. Because far away are Denmark, Sweden or always the eternal example of the BBC.

Ilija Jandrić: Our Facebook and Twitter were blocked: ” left HRT 10 years ago due to a better business offer, but also poor public service management and political interference in editorial policy. Suffice it to say that the then acting director-general at work blocked our access to Facebook and Twitter.”

Ranko Stojanac: “Good at heart There are really great people there, talented, and good at heart…”

Petra Mlacic: “We should be the best HRT should be the best television we have in the country, but unfortunately, it really isn’t”

Tomislav Kalousek: Nothing works properly in that house: “I worked for HRT, more precisely HTV, for about nine years. All the time in the Information Program, the editorial office of internal policy. I left for a number of reasons. The first would be that I stopped believing in journalism as such, the second that I stopped believing in television journalism, and the third that I stopped believing in television journalism within HRT. There is simply no space or interest on HRT for any story to be investigated more deeply, nor is anyone interested in it, moreover, no one wants that. In the newsroom, we were dealing in principle only with the transmission of politicians’ statements, and I was not interested in facing death by doing so. It was impossible to fight for space for better journalism because HRT is an experiment of social Darwinism, in which clans change in management positions, and there is very little space left for work. It is not about “left and right” clans, but about people dependent on power who form new coalitions day by day, just to stay in management positions. I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. These are general reasons, and there are specific ones. Sometime in 2013, I was sent to a session of the Commission for Deciding on Conflicts of Interest, the topic of which was the then director Goran Radman. In short, the Commission concluded that the director had violated the law on three or four grounds. I compiled a short report on this for the noon diary, and for the central one, I did a longer version which foresaw that the director himself would declare himself. Radman thanked me for contacting him, we talked politely for ten minutes, in front of witnesses, and said he would not comment, and I made the article according to the rules of the profession, in the last off I mentioned that the man had no comment. The next day, he apparently assessed that his assessment was not good and asked that his statement be published in Dnevnik for one minute and that he not be asked questions. The editors refused, so the statement was released with a lot of tension, but Dnevnik came out without the editors’ signatures. The program council asked for a statement from the house and in the end a variant was devised to invent that I had not given him a chance to defend himself the day before, which would then justify his move. That is why I sued him privately and HRT. The consequence was that I was the only one in the newsroom who did not get a raise (along with two colleagues who were on maternity leave). Given this dissatisfaction with my status, I decided to seek happiness outside of HRT. They did not even agree to an agreed termination of the contract. But even if it weren’t for that case, I’m sure he would have left television. Simply, nothing works properly in that house, that company cannot satisfy the needs of any man who wants to do business honestly. In the short term, it can serve a younger journalist to gain experience, but for everything else – to avoid. I do not recommend it.

Nevena Rendelli Vejzović: I’ve had enough  I left HRT two years ago when I got tired of the constant struggles with a system that just doesn’t work, from the lowest-paid to the highest paid jobs. Even worse than unjust wages, it was hard for me to watch the most incompetent ascend the ladder of power and destroy all the good that others do. I have never regretted because the opposite rules apply in the market – as much and how you work, you are worth as much. What I will always regret is the program that HRT deserves. And we could have had it.

Anonymous: Full Diary of Andrej Plenković

On August 2, 2019, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was in Dnevnik with a picture that was in more than 50 percent of Dnevnik, which lasted 37 minutes. After appearing in five episodes, a 16-minute interview with the prime minister followed. And it was neither the first nor the last time. Anonymous: Microphone holders With instructions not to ask anything but to just hold the microphone, the journalist goes to film an important government official. After a hundred kilometers of driving and hours of waiting, an HRT employee served as a microphone holder.  “Don’t see Zovko and Romac” Representatives of the HND were censored in the central daily in a report from a session of the parliamentary media committee convened at the request of the HND on the topic of censorship on HRT.

Source: TUCJ and CJA

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