The European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) has urged the Croatian government to safeguard Hina's editorial, managerial and economic independence, requesting an urgent meeting with the government in Zagreb to discuss ways of protecting independent news media in Croatia.
"The Board of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) finds the ongoing discussion about media policy in Croatia alarming! We take it that the Croatian government agrees with the EANA Board that independent news media is a vital part of a democratic society," the organisation said in a letter to the Croatian government dated February 4.
"It is of the utmost importance that the Croatian Government is safeguarding the editorial, managerial and economic independence of Hina that successfully has completed a restructuring reducing the number of noneditorial employees," says the letter, posted on EANA's website.
EANA comprises news agencies from 32 European countries and serves as a forum for cooperation and information for the news agency business. Hina has been "a respected member" for many years, it said.
"The EANA Board is hereby asking the Croatian government for a meeting in Zagreb as soon as possible to discuss how we together can safeguard independent news media in Croatia," the letter said.
The letter was also carried by the Slovenian STA news agency, which quoted Croatian media reports as saying that the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party was planning to replace Hina's management despite its successful business results.
"According to informal statements by HDZ officials, this party is disinclined to endorse the annual report by Hina's Governing Council, which is soon to be discussed by the parliamentary Committee on Information, Computerisation and the Media," STA quoted the Croatian Novi List daily of Friday.
Novi List noted that Hina had been operating at a profit since 2014, signed new agreements with most of the leading media organisations, launched new services and expanded its network of correspondents.