Toronto, ON (April 4, 2016)— In response to the recent government crackdown on free media in Croatia, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) Executive Director Tom Henheffer will be speaking at an emergency conference on press freedom and media censorship in Zagreb, Croatia on April 6, 2016. CJFE has also issued a letter to Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković, warning him of the deteriorating press situation in Croatia, and arranged for Mr. Henheffer to meet with the office of the Prime Minister to discuss how the Croatian government can better uphold international standards of freedom of the press.
Event Details: Conference on Press Freedom in Croatia
When: 11:00 a.m. UTC, April 6, 2016
Where: Novinarski dom (Journalist's House), Perkovčeva 2, Zagreb, Croatia
CJFE is concerned by recent events in Croatia that undermine press freedom and independent media. Since the election of the new Croatian government on January 22, 2016, there have been a number of indicators of a more repressive media environment in the country. These include:
- The government’s decision to terminate the mandate of the Croatian Agency for Electronic Media and dismiss its director. This represents an unwarranted interference in the independence of the public broadcaster.
- The closing of the council for non-profit media and the resulting loss of funding. This threatens the survival of non-profit media outlets, which depend on government funding, and undermines media pluralism in Croatia.
- The decision of Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT) to pull the satirical show “Montirani Proces” from its schedule on the grounds that it contains content that incites religious and national intolerance. Robust political satire is an essential element of free expression and a free and democratic society, and satirists must be allowed to make their voices heard without worrying about politically motivated interference.
"A free press, one that is truly free from government interference, is a crucial pillar of democracy," says Tom Henheffer, CJFE Executive Director. "Croatia is moving in a dangerous direction and this is an opportunity for it to change course before more damage is done. A simple reversal in the government's position can quickly restore a robust right to free expression in the country, and this is why I'm travelling there to engage in constructive dialogue with citizens, media workers and the new Prime Minister's office."
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, CJFE promotes a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. cjfe.org
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For more information or to request interviews, please contact:
CJFE Executive Director