Ministar kulture Zlatan Hasanbegović .jpg
Croatia Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic
Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ /dc

The E-net media network, which comprises the non-profit media Lupiga, Forum.tm, Tris, CroL, Slodobni Filozofski, Zarez, Radio 808, Radio Student and Nepokoreni Grad, on Monday sent an open letter to Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic calling for the immediate replacement of Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic over his "brutal attack on media freedoms."

"We demand that you immediately replace Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic because he is negating the foundations of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, announcing censorship and persecution of journalists, making unlawful and undemocratic decisions, announcing a campaign against people who do not share his political views and attacking non-profit media," reads the letter.

The E-net (Emancipation Network) underlines that the minister last week "dissolved the Commission for Non-Profit Media without an explanation and in violation of the relevant rules, announcing a revision of contracts signed between the non-profit media and the Culture Ministry, which threatens their survival."

"Also, there have been attempts to depict the non-profit media as consisting of people who have thus found a free meal ticket and are 'cultural agitprop idlers' who spend millions of kuna of taxpayers' money, which is far from the truth," the E-net says in the letter.

It goes on to say that "Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic has chosen as the first target of his campaign against freedom of speech the non-profit (community) media - which are financially the weakest but critically the strongest media."

"The non-profit media pursue investigative journalism, which has almost entirely disappeared from the media scene in Croatia and which is a guarantor of the protection of the rule of law. In the total revenue of all Croatian media outlets, the non-profit media account for slightly less than 1%, however, they employ 3% of all media professionals. The non-profit media employ journalists who have lost their jobs in commercial media despite the fact that they did their job honestly and responsibly. The non-profit media fight all types of intolerance, corruption, abuse of office and powers, destruction of the common good, they promote the protection of vulnerable and minority groups, basic human rights, women's rights, workers, ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, persons with disabilities and the cultural identity of Croatian citizens," the non-profit media say in their letter to PM Oreskovic.

"Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic is trying to introduce totalitarianism in a country that 25 years ago voted for democracy by plebiscite," the non-profit media say, noting that they would fight against "his brutal attack on media freedoms."

Minister Hasanbegovic dissolved the Non-Profit Media Commission in line with his powers, the ministry said in a press release this past Friday.

The press release, forwarded to Hina, cited the relevant regulations that empower the minister to appoint and dissolve commissions set up in accordance with the said regulations.

Latest news

Stickers reading "Serbian Family Tree" appear in Vukovar

Stickers reading "Serbian Family Tree" with the image of people hanging from a tree and the face of Ante Pavelic, Croatian fascist dictator who led the Ustasha movement and the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), appeared at bus stations along Trpinjska Street in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar on Friday.

Turkish ruling party launches campaign for constitutional changes

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday formally launched its campaign for the upcoming referendum on core constitutional changes set to empower the presidency, with a mass rally at a sports arena in Ankara.

Top US general visits Syrian Kurds with focus on al-Raqqa campaign

A top US general visited Syrian Kurdish forces and their allies in northern Syria this week, amid signs the US military was increasing its support for anti-Islamic State forces, despite risks that such a move could anger neighbouring Turkey. 

Germany expects long-term migration growth after revising estimates

Net migration to Germany is expected to be 200,000 annually in the coming years, according to a news report to be published Sunday.

Malaysian police seek to reassure public over VX nerve agent

Malaysian police said on Saturday they would do everything possible to ensure there was no risk to the public from the lethal VX nerve agent used to kill Kim Jong Nam in the country's main international airport.

Cretu says Croatia must accelerate apsorbtion of European funds

The Commissioner also said that for the 2014-2020 period, Croatia would have twice the amount from the previous period at its disposal -- a total of EUR 10.67 billion.

Germany's Schulz accepts only 'small' role in party's poll boost

The main rival to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in this year's elections has said the boost in opinion polls for his Social Democrats (SPD) is not mainly down to him personally.

Coordinated suicide attacks kill over 40 in Syria’s Homs

Forty-two security personnel were killed Saturday in synchronized attacks targeting government security facilities in the Syrian city of Homs, a monitoring group said, with up to six suicide bombers reported to be involved.

Bangladesh PM calls for 'huge fund' to renovate factories

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday urged international clothing brands to help factory owners overhaul their facilities.

EC adopts delegated act on Teran, despite Slovenia's opposition

The European Commission has, despite Slovenia's opposition, adopted a delegated act whereby Croatian winemakers in Istria would be enabled to continue selling their wine made from the Teran grape variety under the name "Croatian Istria - Teran", and the act could be published early next week, the Slovenian news agency STA reported on Friday.

Filipinos mark 1986 mass uprising amid fears of new 'dictatorship'

Thousands of protesters on Saturday marked a 1986 mass uprising that ousted late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, amid fears of a crackdown against political opponents of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Rocket attack leave 2 students dead in eastern Afghanistan

At least two students were killed when a rocket fired by Taliban militants hit a school in Afghanistan’s eastern Laghman province on Saturday morning, local authorities said.