A Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) commission of inquiry said on Monday that it had analysed all broadcasts of the "Otvoreno" round table talk show from January 28 to June 2, from the formation of the new government to the publication of Grizli Komunikacije PR agency's documents, and that "it cannot be concluded in any case that 'Otvoreno' editors favoured" the agency.
The public broadcaster said in a press release the analysis established that "Otvoreno" editors tried to have both the ruling parties and the opposition represented and that they did not invite representatives of the ruling Bridge party more often than others but in proportion to its participation in the government.
The commission established that in the said period, "Otvoreno" did not focus on land plots, the West Gate shopping mall outside Zagreb or anything to do with the Austrian companies Braunsberger Holding and its rival Focus Invest, the HRT said, adding that Justice Minister Ante Sprlje (Bridge) was a guest in only one "Otvoreno" broadcast, on March 8, when the topic was the judiciary.
The HRT went on to say that a letter of intent which Grizli sent Braunsberger concerned the organisation of meetings with journalists of major Croatian media, including the HRT, and that the letter mentioned the organisation of a discussion on "Otvoreno" in which Sprlje would be one of the guests.
Grizli is also mentioned in a published contract, signed by the Austrian party but not the Croatian, which mentions "Otvoreno" and Sprlje.
The HRT said the mention of it and "Otvoreno" in this case had directly damaged the public broadcaster and that it would take legal steps.
Last Friday, Sprlje dismissed media reports alleging that he had arranged meetings with Austrian clients through Grizli Komunikacije regarding a dispute between Braunsberger Holding and Focus Invest over the West Gate shopping mall so that the Croatian state prosecution could file criminal complaints against the parties involved.
Last Thursday, media said they were in possession of a contract between Grizli and Braunsberger for PR services regarding Braunsberger's dispute with Focus Invest over the West Gate shopping mall. The contract reportedly says that Grizli will raise the subject via several web portals, offer it to the Vecernji List and Jutarnji List dailies, and raise it on "Otvoreno". Under the contract, several government members and state officials from the Bridge party would take part in the talk show. The contract also says that Grizli could link Braunberger with key government members from Bridge.
Thomas Bauer, a co-owner of Grizli, which did Bridge's PR, on Thursday accused First Deputy Prime Minister and HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko of trying to discredit the company and pressure Bridge officials. He said "Mr Karamarko is personally calling people and putting pressure on them, trying to find out information."