The International Federation of Journalists today protested against political pressure that led to the dismissal of Tihomir Ladišiæ, an editor for Croatian Public Broadcaster HRT, for leading a discussion on the role of the Croatian Army in shelling Sarajevo.
Ladišiæ, an HRT journalist for ten years, was dismissed on 8 October following public protests by the ruling Croatian Democratic Party, HDZ, and the Croatian Legal Party about the content of the show and HRT’s editorial policy.
“This is a shocking example of political interference with the public broadcaster” said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ. “This act is reminiscent of the Tudjman era when journalists were singled out for intimidation in order to censor and control information uncomfortable to the government.”
Ladišiæ, editor and presenter of the Otvoreno (Open) show on HRT, had led a discussion on the testimony given to the Hague Tribunal by Bosnian Croat Military Commander Ivica Rajic. As part of a plea agreement with the tribunal, Rajic confirmed that the Croatian military had been involved in shelling Sarajevo during the Bosnian war.
Following protests by the Croatian Journalists’ Association, an IFJ affiliate, the case has been referred to HRT’s Programme Council. The IFJ calls on the Programme Council to issue a robust defence of its journalist and the right to implement its editorial policy without pressure and interference by politicians. The meeting is due to take place tomorrow, 23rd November.
“HRT needs to reassure the Croatian public of its independence and commitment to public service journalism by forcefully rejecting the political pressure and attempts to silence its journalists,” added White.