Freelance reporter and Croatian Journalists Association (HND) president Sasa Lekovic on Friday replied to an open letter published earlier in the day by the Croatian Journalists and Publicists (HNiP) association, which he described as a minor association whose establishment was politically motivated, warning that the HNiP had been trying to discredit him for some time and that it was now trying to neutralise the HND and introduce servility among journalists.

"Despite their enormous effort, they have not been successful because as HND president I have been doing what I publicly promised, without any political motives or interference. Encouraged by the fact that Sinisa Kovacic, until yesterday HNiP president, has finally, in a shameful way, gained what the HNiP was, among other things, founded for - the post of acting Croatian Radio and Television director-general - HNiP members' appetite has grown. Now they want to achieve the second part of their 'mission' - to neutralise the HND and introduce unprofessional and unethical conduct in journalism and servility to the incumbent government as a desirable model of journalist work," Lekovic says in his reply.

"When a group of HRT reporters and editors left the HND a year ago, fabricating reasons they could not substantiate in any way, that was the beginning of the HNiP project - the media segment of (Tomislav) Karamarko's plan to take over the media and mock public interest as the fundamental goal of free journalism and democracy. The HNiP's activities are proof of that," Lekovic says in the letter, recalling "'journalistic' activities of prominent HNiP members and supporters like Marko Juric and Velimir Bujanec."

Commenting on the HNiP's claims about the expulsion of some HND members from that association at the time of the former Yugoslav regime, Lekovic says that back in 1992 the HND apologised to all who had been unjustly expelled from that association then. All such HND members were rehabilitated and one of the most important HND prizes bears the name of one of them, Lekovic says in the letter, among other things.

"HNiP members are forgetting that some of them received HND awards at the time when they were HND members and that some of them were elected to bodies of the HND. Which evidently was good enough for them until they sensed the opportunity to 'sell themselves' to the prospective election winners," Lekovic says.

Earlier in the day, the HNiP sent an open letter to HND members saying that in the past several months the HNiP had been exposed to "unprincipled, anarchist and politically motivated public attacks by HND president Sasa Lekovic" and expressing confidence that HND members did not support such "perfidious insulting of those who think differently."

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