Who and why is against an independent investigation into sexual harassment on HRT?

The Croatian Journalists Association and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists warned of dubious moves and messages by the Croatian Radiotelevison (HRT) leadership after a series of articles showing systematic tolerance of sexual harassment of journalists who reported the crime was published in the weekly “Nacional”.

“We urge the victims not to be silent, it is not their shame, it is not your shame. We give full support to our colleagues and we will provide them with all possible support if they decide to report sexual or any other kind of harrasment”, said the president of the HND branch on HRT, Sanja Mikleušević Pavić.

She pointed out that HRT’s statement in which it comments on the allegations from Nacional, and does not deny them, that this is all being done because HRT’s ratings are growing is deeply disturbing.

“Director General Kazimir Bačić does not show a minimum level of solidarity and understanding towards his colleagues, as well as the entire administration when they put the victim and the abuser in the same room. It is not clear to the director of the program, Renato Kunić, what an immoral offer is, and he calls on them to solve it themselves. The applicant did not receive a report on the investigation allegedly carried out by the Director General but found out from the media.

On HRT, an investigation protocol is that they confront the victim and the abuser. “You are not healthy, you have a serious problem”, the director told the other director not to make excuse toward the victim and the women who were at that meeting did not react”, warned Mikleušević Pavić of the way HRT “investigates” reports of sexual harassment.

The president of the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists Maja Sever explained that they asked the Director General to establish an anonymous reporting system that protects the victim, but they were rejected, not only they, but also the Supervisory Board.

She warned that the existing system is not working. “No one is saying that ordinances are not implemented in the system, the point is that practice has shown that such a system and ordinances do not protect the victim.

In two cases we are aware of, we would like to point out one thing: THE SYSTEM IS NOT GOOD, it is clear that it does not work, the victim is not protected until the end of the procedure, which must be independent, transparent and impartial, and the system is such that Director General is conducting an investigation against his closest associate. We are looking to upgrade and improve the system”, said Sever.

Why a legitimate request of a Trade Union and professional organization, a request for cooperation and protection of the victim is rejected in one letter, she does not know, but Sever once again asked the HRT leadership to work together in improving the system.

HND Vice President Goran Gazdek called on journalists to address the issues of sexual abuse and harassment in our society because it is obvious that this is a big problem.

Gazdek also warned of double standards on HRT. “Let us remember how they behaved in the case of Hrvoje Zovko, who was fired less than a day after the quarrel and untrue report by the editor-in-chief of the News Programme Katarina Periša Čakarun and filed three lawsuits for violating reputation and honor because Zovko spoke about censorship on HRT.

All the lies about Hrvoje Zovko’s violent behavior were rejected in two verdicts, and HRT General Director Kazimir Bačić continues to talk about Zovko as a person who deserved to be fired for inappropriate behavior. They still claim that there is no censorship on HRT, although there are final verdicts that confirm that there is censorship on HRT. HND believes that the HRT leadership must leave because of all this”, said Gazdek.

“Mr. Bačić, who and why is against an independent commission and a thorough and serious investigation” Sanja Mikleušević Pavić asked, adding that the HRT leadership wants to push the case under the rug even though the spirit has come out of the bottle.

She called on the Government, the Ministry of Culture to look into this mater, and the parliamentary committees to hold an emergency sessions regarding situation on HRT and not only about this case but also on closing the correspondence office in Sisak, the quality of programs and censorship.

Maja Sever warned that the Uunion and HND are being contacted by many people who have been faced with this or that form of harassment on HRT, and are afraid of retaliation and dismissal.

“No one in our society should be harassed, abused or exposed to sexual allusions and harassment. There are rules of conduct and I want to send a message to all colleagues to work together to improve the system, transparency and the possibility of anonymous application.

We are here for you. We can offer support, encouragement and professional and legal assistance. You know the channels you can contact us. Know that we are here for you and we will not leave you”, concluded Sever.

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