The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) on Wednesday warned that the latest cases of state institutions exerting pressure on journalists and media outlets were aimed at preventing investigative journalism that was in the interest of the Croatian public.
Addressing a news conference, HND president Hrvoje Zovko described as scandalous a recent police request to launch an investigation in connection with an award which Nacional weekly editor-in-chief Berislav Jelinic received from the Nova Gradiska city authorities back in 2016.
Zovko also described as unprecedented pressure the fact that Nova TV reporters Ana Malbasa and Ema Branica were under investigation for unlawfully filming businessman Drago Tadic, a witness in the trial of a former minister and mayor of Zadar, Bozidar Kalmeta, and bankruptcy commissioner Mirjana Zuzija, while investigating the sale of apartments that are part of bankruptcy estates and people who have made a fortune doing it.
Zovko said the two reporters, who had investigated important topics in public interest, were suspected of criminal acts.
‘Putinisation of media scene in Croatia’
Commenting on the investigation into Jelinic, Zovko said that he could only guess that state institutions were trying to prove that Jelinic and Nacional had favoured somebody with their articles, describing this as the ‘Putinisation’ of the media scene in Croatia.
The HND demands information on who ordered the investigation into Jelinic and that the case against the two Nova TV reporters be dropped, Zovko said said.
Nacional editor-in-chief Jelinic said the possibility of him inciting abuse of power in order to be granted the award in question was absurd.