Police union calls for chief of police to step down over Klancir incident

NEWS 07.03.2019 14:03
Source: Hrvoje Jelavic/PIXSELL

Croatia's police union issued a press release on Wednesday, demanding that the national police chief steps down over an incident earlier this week in which uniformed police ID'-d a reporter at her workplace.

On Tuesday, a reporter working for the Net.hr news website, Djurdjica Klancir reported that uniformed police officers had come to the website’s newsroom to ID her, in relation to a libel lawsuit being filed against her by a local-level politician from the central Croatian county of Sisak-Moslavina, Ivo Zinic, who is a member of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

Klancir is known to have published several articles alleging corruption and nepotism in the county ruled by Zinic.

The unprecedented move of sending police officers to a newsroom caused public outcry and drew condemnations from other media outlets and the journalists’ association.


On Wednesday, the police union joined the condemnations, saying in its press release that the incident constituted “a clear case of abuse of police powers” which served as an “attack on the freedom of the press,” in which police officials were used as a tool to intimidate a reporter, based on a request from a local politician who “just happens to be a member of the ruling political party.”

The union went on to blame the national police chief, Nikola Milina, for failing to prevent the sending of police officers on an assignment which, the union said, was clearly unwarranted and unnecessary, since the official motivation to go and ID a well-known reporter at her workplace was to “establish her identity.” In its initial comments, the interior ministry dryly said that the incident was entirely within the law.
On Thursday, head of the police union, Mario Puskaric, talked to N1 and explained their demand for the chief of police to resign.
“He (Milina) should have asked for the matter to be examined first, in order to establish whether there is any reason for the police to do this… Ms Klancir is a public figure, the interior ministry has her photos in their database, and online… she has a known address where shere she lives, why would the police go to a journalist’s office? If the police can’s locate a public figure like her, how is it supposed to catch any thief? The police officers are not to blame, the fault lies with the person who ordered them to do that,” Puskaric told N1 television.
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