Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) on Thursday issued a statement regarding claims made by Croatian Journalists Association (HND) president Sasa Lekovic at an August 9 presentation of a report of international journalists' associations on the media scene in Croatia, describing his statements about personnel restructuring and programming changes at the HRT as "incorrect and ill-intentioned."

"Commenting on the report, the HND president described the HRT as an institution where allegedly a mass-scale personnel restructuring and major programming changes are under way, and noted that this was proof of attempts by the outgoing government to colonise the HRT for its purposes. His claims are incorrect and ill-intentioned," the HRT said in the statement signed by its acting director-general Sinisa Kovacic.

After the Croatian parliament relieved the former HRT director-general of his duties and the acting director was appointed, some editors appointed during the term of the former management resigned from their posts while some decided to continue their career elsewhere, the HRT said in the statement, noting that one editor was replaced for non-compliance with his legal obligations.

"We would like to recall that during the former management's term, there were media outlets and journalists that were not welcome at the HRT as guests, against which the HND president himself protested last year. There are no longer unwanted guests and media at the HRT and all the changes were undertaken to stabilise the HRT's operations and improve the objectivity of media reporting," reads the statement.

The public broadcaster also dismissed claims that the outgoing government led by the Patriotic Coalition and the Bridge party last month made it possible for HRT acting director-general Kovacic to remain in his position until after the early parliamentary election set for September 11, noting that it did not want to prejudge the way relevant institutions would regulate the management of the HRT as a public service after September 5.

"The current situation is due to the fact that several public advertisements of vacancies... have failed and that the parliament has not elected the HRT director-general within the deadline set by the law... the current management will do its job entirely professionally and respect any decision by the relevant state institutions," reads the statement.

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