Instead of Ms. Sever, the guest of yesterday's show was an independent Member of Croatian Parliament Marko Vučetić. During the show, Vučetić said that he was actually a replacement for Ms. Sever and that she was not allowed to come on the show. Editor and presenter of the show Aleksandar Stanković admitted that fact and told Vučetić:
"The fact that Maja Sever is not here in this show today is my professional failure. I think it is also a failure for the Croatian Radiotelevision. I invited her today to speak as the president of the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists, who spoke with the President of Croatia and the Minister of Culture last week about the problems of freelance journalists in Croatia. I didn't get permission. She was also invited here to speak as the "Pride of Croatia Award" winner. The argument for banning the interview was that she works in this house, in this show, and that I can not be persistent in calling her to this show because it needs to be a guest outside HRT. "
This kind of behavior of the national service management, on World Press Freedom Day, is a clear demonstration of restrictions and censorship on HRT, and it is something that CJA have been warning for years.
The fact that Ms. Sever is an employee of HRT would be an honor, not an excuse for censorship in a normal and free media outlet, especially one funded by public money. We would also like to remind you that Ms. Sever's esteemed and watched TV show "Hrvatska uživo" was removed from the program in 2017., without any explanation. Now we are witnessing a new stage of censorship - prohibition of her appearances.
CJA has been warning for years that there is censorship on public television, banned topics and inconvenient interlocutors, as noted by numerous reports by international organizations dealing with freedom of speech and media. In the name of its' view of freedom, the leadership of the public broadcaster tried to close CJA's mouth with a lawsuit worth approximately 70 thousand euros.
What is known to everyone, but was silenced by the HRT leadership, has finally become public with the yesterdays' confirmation of Aleksandar Stanković. Therefore, there is nothing left then to ask the free public and all concerned to join us in our efforts to free HRT from the shackles of politics and interest groups in order to become an independent public service. Citizens who pay the RTV fee are entitled to it.
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, we would like to remind that one of the demands of last year's press protest was the dismissal of the current HRT leadership. The HND remains persistent in this demand.
Hrvoje Zovko, President of the Croatian Journalists' Association
Sanja Mikleusevic Pavic, president of the CJA Branch at Croatian Television