Don’t save money on journalists because you are jeopardizing their safety

Nikola Šolić

FOTO: Nikola Šolić

Regarding the attack on our colleague Andrea Topić from Slobodna Dalmacija daily newspapers, the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists and the Croatian Journalists’ Association strongly condemned the attack and the lack of timely reaction of senior political officials.

Trade Union of Croatian Journalists president Maja Sever said that the case of journalist Andrea Topić points to a trend of deteriorating conditions  in which journalists work. “In addition to working in insecure, temporary forms of work, they are exposed to pressure, intimidation and assault while doing their jobs”, Sever warned.

“I want to emphasize that we are still seeing the work of institutions trying to deceive the public. I read a statement by minister of health Milan Kujundžić, which says that the workers may have mistaken a journalist with thieves, so they attacked a journalist. We all saw a young girl sitting in the car, they sat on the car hood, started taking out their denture, grin at her face and yell that she shouldn’t take photographs.

I don’t know if the PR department from the ministry of health watched the video before they sent the statement, it’s hard to think they were thieves because a reporter was sitting in the car and recognized one of the attackers because she had done a reportage with him.

This attack on the journalist may not have been brought to their attention, especially after Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman told reporters that they should not research what kind of real estates ministers have but report more on Croatian presiding over the Council of the European Union”, Sever said.

“The atmosphere in which we work is bad and it is easiest to accuse a journalist. We demand that the safe work conditions of journalists, cameramen and photojournalists be assured, and we urge institutions to ensure a safe working environment for journalists and editors.

If going on a risky job a journalist must go with a fellow photographer or photojournalist, and that would increase security and financial savings cannot be above the safety of journalists”, Sever said, adding that she expects that Slobodna Dalmacija and Hanza media as publisher ensure and demand protection and a safe working environment for journalists.

“In addition to the institutions, I want to appeal to employers and publishers to ensure safe working conditions for their employers. Budget savings can not be more important than the safety of journalist Andreja Topić and at least two people should have been sent to such task”, Sever concluded.

One in a series of attacks on journalists while the state’s institutions and leaders remain silent

“The Croatian Journalists ‘Association and the Trade Union of  Croatian Journalists strongly condemns this disgusting attack on a colleague Andrea Topić, who was just doing her job in the public interest. The attack on her is a consequence of the atmosphere in Croatia, which is that journalists are guilty of everything. Of course they are not, they are just doing their job and we do not accept this situation, which is happening in a Member State of the European Union and which is chairing the Council of the European Union”, stated the president of the Croatian Journalists’ Association Hrvoje Zovko.

He warned that the latest attack is just one in a series of attacks that have been going on for years. “We have more than 50 attacks and threats against journalists in the last four years, and the silence of people running the country is especially intimidating. Silence is the fuel for those who think they can attack journalists and get away with it”, Zovko said.

“Once again we ask the leading people of this country whether they still think there are no problems that we are warning about and to which we only get silence in response”, Zovko concluded.

The minister should resign and show that he does not support the attack on journalists

CJA Vice-President Danka Derifaj has warned that for months now we have been looking at cases of insulting journalists by politicians when they ask questions about their jobs, real estate and all those things that the public has a right to know. “It’s our job, to report on them.

Colleague Andrea Topić is a woman who was alone on a job when four men called for brandy, offered her to spend intimate time with them, and thus sexually harassed her. So far, we have listened to politicians speak in a condescending tone with our female colleagues , insult them, discriminate on a gender basis, and that is why this attack is their responsibility”, Derifaj says.

She concluded that it would be politically responsible for the minister Milan Kujundžić resign over this attack on a colleague and thus show that he does not support such behavior towards journalists.

“We are constantly witnessing that politicians are the ones who contribute to that atmosphere by avoiding answering the questions we ask, and then in turn sharing insults and belittling us”, Danka Derifaj warned.

According to police, around 4 PM in Ivanbegova on Thursday, four men verbally assaulted a female person, after which they surrounded a passenger vehicle she had entered in order to get away from them. While the person was in the vehicle trying to get off the scene, the men prevented her from leaving and damaged the vehicle on that occasion.

Police officers arrested four people aged 42, 43, 66 and 68. Criminal investigations were conducted on them, after which criminal charges will be filed against them by the State Attorney’s Office on suspicion that they have committed the criminal offense of Unlawful Deprivation of Liberty and Damage to someone elses property, the Split County Police Directorate announced.

Journalist Andrea Topić is investigating if the minister of health Milan Kujundžić has lied about the number of houses and apartments he has and did he report them in Property and finacial data card which is obligatory by law for government officials. That is the reason why she wanted to take a few photographs of his villa.






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