Ministar kulture Zlatan Hasanbegović .jpg
Croatia Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic
Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ /dc

The Croatian Journalists Association's (HND) Corps of Internet Journalists on Saturday supported Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic's decision to dissolve the Non-Profit Media Commission, saying this Commission had been non-transparent in its work and in conflict of interest.

As HND members, we wish to publicly voice our disagreement with HND president Sasa Lekovic's statement that the decision to dissolve the Commission was more proof that Hasanbegovic must not be a minister, because this statement is a dangerous attempt to ideologically and politically align the HND by its president, which is contrary to the fundamental principles of journalism and the HND Code of Honour, the Corps said in a press release.

Lekovic said that speaking to the press yesterday the Croatian PEN centre and the NGO Platform 112, and he also requested that Hasanbegovic be replaced because of "worrisome moves and stances on the media in Croatia, the press release said, adding that Lekovic reacted swiftly despite the fact that "the Commission had granted state funds for years to the same portals whose members publicly divided journalists into 'ours and yours."

The HND Corps of Internet Journalists said it was surprised and saddened by Lekovic's claim that the Commission was dissolved without an analysis of its work, given that Lekovic, as the HND leader, knew that some Commission members were proven to be in conflict of interest.

The Corps expects the new culture minister to adopt clearer and more objective criteria for the allocation of funds to non-profit media, to appoint truly independent experts to the Commission members and not based on ideology as has been the case, and to use the state budget funds for non-profit media to subsidise the hiring of unemployed journalists, but without members of state bodies deciding what and how they would report, as has been the case, the press release said.

The HND Corps of Internet Journalists also requests an urgent meeting of the HND Main Committee to state if it supports Lekovic's attempts to prevent the dissolution of the Non-Profit Media Commission and dictate the government's personnel policy, said the press release signed by Corps president Tomislav Galovic and vice president Marja Colak.

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