zlatko hasanbegovic.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Nikša MILETIĆ / mm

The Culture Ministry on Friday described as unfounded criticisms over cuts in state funding for the publishing company Edit which issues the Italian-language daily "La voce del popolo", saying that in drawing up the state budget for 2017 it would propose that funds for that company no longer be provided from the Culture Ministry's budget. 

"Funds for the normal functioning of Edit should be ensured from the state budget, through the Office for Ethnic Minorities, which is in charge of funding for work programmes of ethnic minorities," the Culture Ministry said in a reply to a query from Hina.

Edit's total income in 2014 was slightly over HRK 17.4 million, of which state funds amounted to 6.5 million - 1.3 million from the Culture Ministry and 5.2 million from the Office for Ethnic Minorities, the ministry recalls.

The company's expenditure was HRK 22.7 million and the deficit HRK 5.3 million, which was covered with a surplus from the previous year, it says.

"Of the total income that year, only 7% were funds from the Culture Ministry," it said.

"The 1.3 million approved for 2014 by the Culture Ministry during the term of the previous government is only one-third higher than the one million kuna approved to Edit in 2016," the ministry said.

The Croatian Journalists Union branch at Edit warned a few days ago that the Italian-language daily "La voce del popolo", which has been published for more than 70 years, was facing closure due to a 50% cut in funds from the Culture Ministry and a 15% cut in funds from the Office for Ethnic Minorities.

This drew criticism from the Istrian Democratic Party, which called the culture minister's decision as an "attack on multiculturalism, co-existence, freedom of speech, journalism and democracy", and from Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel.

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