In a letter addressed on 11 February 2016 to the Croatian authorities the IFJ asked for the revision of the decision made by the Minister of Culture to abolish state subsidies for non-profit media. The IFJ joins its affiliates in Croatia the Croatia Journalists’ Association (HND) and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (SNH) in condemning this decision, as well as the Minister of Culture dissolution of the Expert Committee for Non-profit Media before the end of his mandate.
The decision to abolish state subsidies was announced by Croatian Minister of Culture, Zlatko Hasanbegović on the 27th of January 2016.
“Non-profit media in Croatia arose as an oasis of critical and professional journalism, focusing on topics ignored by most other media outlets, bolstering the freedoms and rights of threatened minority groups, promoting democracy, tolerance, multiculturalism and pluralism,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “This media is today the main guarantor of investigative journalism in Croatia, which has almost completely vanished from the mainstream media.” In addition, the IFJ believes that the statement made by the Minister of Culture that 'media and media policy are burdening the work of the Ministry of Culture' is unacceptable in a true democracy and cannot remained unchallenged.
“Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and independent journalism are the safeguards of a true democracy,” said Boumelha, calling on Croatian leaders “to stop the undemocratic silencing of journalists and free media”.