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.