An association called "Croatian Journalists and Publicists (HNiP)" on Tuesday expressed concern about attempts by a majority of big and medium-sized media companies and outlets "to toe the line" and about the absence of their wish to ensure objectivity.
Presenting reasons for its concern in an open letter sent to Croatian members of the European Parliament and to Croatian parliamentary committees for media, the association urges Croatian MEPs to pay additional attention to this important issue and to objectively present the real state of affairs in the Croatian media in the European Parliament.
HNiP writes that over the recent weeks, "a para-political group" has been stepping up its activity and has been exploiting "the conspicuous preference it enjoys in the media, notably in the Croatian Radio and Television (HRT)" for the purpose of its political and material profits.
The association criticises the HRT broadcaster for giving media space to "ubiquitous political activists whom the HRT declares to be independent experts." Furthermore, the HRT invites incompetent people to discuss certain topics in prime-time shows, which is unacceptable in the professional journalistic sense, the association writes.
"Scandals along ideological lines are being produced from day to day, which makes it difficult for the country to function normally," according to the letter released by the association on its web site.
It also claims that "this conglomerate of unprincipled public policies" which used to be lavishly funded by the culture ministry in the term of the former government, has found its cause in disparaging Croatia, the current government and some cabinet ministers abroad, accusing them for having a crucial role in the poor situation regarding media freedoms and democracy in society.
"The Croatian Journalists and Publicists (HNiP)" association finds those accusations to be "untrue, false and manipulative".
This association recalls that it was during the term of the previous government that the Vjesnik political daily newspaper with a 72-year-long tradition as well as the Forum weekly ceased to be published, and the association accuses the previous government of narrowing the state media space under the pretext of the widespread recession.
Print media were faced with a threat of tax repression, while the former Culture Ministry "shamelessly favoured" those sharing its political views through "scandalous corruptive tenders for 'independent media'," writes the association, that was established in 2015 and has 45 members, including some journalists from the HRT broadcaster and freelancers, dissatisfied with the work of the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND).