Vienna, 18 July 2019
The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is suporting the last statementy by the Croatian Journalists Association (HND). HND said on Thursday it was appalled by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s “scandalous statements … unworthy of the office she holds, in which she shamefully instructs journalists how to do their job.”
“The Croatian president’s message to our colleagues, ‘Don’t follow foreign media, which work in I don’t know whose interest’, aside from accusing our foreign colleagues in a very ugly way and without any arguments, is trying to discipline journalists in Croatia in a very perfidious way to do their job by blindly believing only one side, representatives of the authorities, and not their colleagues, whom she virtually labelled as enemies of Croatia,” the HND said in a press release.
Journalists asked the president to comment on the criticisms in world’s media of her admission in an interview for Swiss public broadcaster SRF that Croatian police use violent pushback in dealing with migrants, the HND said, adding that after her statements received negative reactions at home and abroad, the president blamed the Swiss broadcaster.
“The president ended her statement with an instruction to journalists: ‘As Croatian media you must present the Croatian side of the story. Don’t follow foreign media which work in who knows whose interest.’ This reminds us of the 1990s when some journalists, apologists of the then authorities, publicly said: ‘If necessary, I will lie for Croatia,” the HND said.
Journalists’ job is not to work in the interest of any policy but in public interest, HND added.
The president also recently criticised media outlets for misinterpreting her statements.