The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) said on Thursday that the proposal by the parliamentary committee on the media for parliament to relieve of duty Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) director-general Goran Radman and appoint Croatian Television editor Sinisa Kovacic as acting HRT director-general was yet more proof that the ruling coalition had decided to claim control of the public media service in the fashion of a non-democratic regime.
"The HND had many objections to the work of Goran Radman as the HRT director-general and critically pointed them out, but we consider his replacement before a parliamentary debate on a report on HRT's work and in the wake of threats about his replacement made by the ruling coalition's politicians at party meetings, unacceptable in a democratic society," reads a statement by the umbrella journalists' association.
The proposal by the parliamentary committee on the media that Kovacic, a Croatian Television editor and president of the Croatian Journalists and Publicists (HNiP) association, be appointed acting HRT director-general, is unacceptable, the HND said.
It claimed that the HNiP was founded to "harm, with its statements, journalism, journalists' integrity and freedom of expression, as well as Croatian citizens' interests, contrary to all professional and ethical criteria, serving the government, just as the head of the Patriotic Coalition and now First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko said a year ago that they would have to do when he comes to power."
The HND said that it would inform all international media organisations about what it described as a new attack on the freedom of expression and public interests in the country.
It recalled that its fight for the freedom of public expression and against pressure on the media had been supported by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). "However, the letter by its president, sent on behalf of 600,000 journalists from around the globe, has not been replied to either by the president of the republic or the prime minister or any other high-ranking state official the letter was addressed to, which additionally testifies to their democratic capacity and political responsibility," the HND says in its statement.
The procedure to relieve Radman of duty was launched by the HRT Supervisory Committee, which cited as the reason disregard for conclusions on the need to keep separate accounting records about HRT's public and commercial revenues.
The parliamentary committee on the media will forward its proposal to the parliament, which is to make a final decision on the matter.