“I felt the efects of coronavirus crisis right away because we freelancers work on a month-to-month basis, especially on Croatian Radiotelevision which I work with. All freelancers and cultural workers can endure another two or three months. The Ministry of Culture has done nothing to resolve our position and there is no idea how to help us. We would all rather work than sit at home. Independent artists now get 1600 kunas of help. We can’t survive on that”, said journalist, screenwriter and director Danijela Stanojević who was left without income in the midst of a pandemic.
President of Trade Union of Croatian Journalists Maja Sever recalled that journalists continued to do their work in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, so that the public could receive accurate and timely information. “Information in these moments saves lives, which is why we continued to work, and journalists justified the importance of the role of journalism in society,” says Sever.
“Our sector was first to be hit by the ongoing crisis, and employers immediately began austerity, layoffs, cancellation of contracts with freelancers, pay cuts to people who endanger their health every day. We have repeatedly warned and asked for the protection of the news sector, not just publishers, but journalists because employers have been resorting to part-time work with journalists and other media professionals for decades, because it is the easiest way for them to fire people”, said Sever.
President of Croatian Journalista Association Hrvoje Zovko said that CJA, as a professional organization, is extremely concerned about this new attack on journalism and journalists in Croatia, and even more so because the Government and the Minister of Culture clearly do not care.
“And while the European Commission, the Council of Europe chaired by former cabinet minister in Andrej Plenković’s government, the European Federation of Journalists and other professional organizations warn of the importance of preserving journalism as a safeguard for societies not to slip from democracy to autocracy or dictatorship, our Government seems to wish that this bit of journalism that is left is gone.
“For two months, the Croatian government did nothing for journalists, and the situation in the local media is especially worrying because people are out of work and their livelihoods as well as the existence of their families are seriously endangered”, Zovko warned.
Sever recalled that Trade Union of Croatian Journalist and CJA had already proposed urgent concrete measures to save journalism. “They are concrete and fast-paced and would not put too much strain on the budget because journalists were decimated in the 2008. crisis and thera are not much of us left.”
According to a poll by our Trade Union and CJA in less than a month of this crisis, as many as 28 percent of freelance journalists, freelancers and part-time associates were left without any involvement in the Croatian media, 26% lost most of their engagement, and 16% of them experienced loss of half of bussines engagements”,Sever points out.
“Measures taken by the Government and referred to by the Ministry of Culture are measures to help entrepreneurs, while freelance journalists are not covered, and many local media outlets founded by the local government are not eligible for Croatian Employment Service measures because they use public funding.
As we are fighting for athletes or restaurants and their employees we are fighting for our colleague Danijela and for the cameraman of this broadcast and the journalists who are here and for all our colleagues who are in a difficult situation”, said Sever.
“We no longer expect the Government but demand that they devise and introduce measures for journalists as soon as possible, otherwise the consequences will be catastrophic”, Zovko warned.
At the end of the conference, the CJA president presented a hopeful statement. The CJA and Trade Union of Croatian Journalists are invited to a meeting with Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Thursday. We will immediately notify you of the results of the meeting.