Croatian Journalists Urge PM to Protect Minority Newspaper Amid Far-Right Pressure

The Croatian Journalists' Association is urging Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to intervene after the far-right Homeland Movement demanded an end to public funding for Novosti, a weekly newspaper serving the Serb national minority in Croatia, as part of a broader trend of suppressing minority voices and undermining press freedom. The move has sparked concerns about the health of democracy in Croatia and beyond, with implications for independent media outlets and marginalized groups." This description focuses on the primary topic of the article (the threat to Novosti and press freedom), the main entities involved (Croatian Journalists' Association, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Homeland Movement, and Novosti), the context of Croatia's political landscape, and the significant implications of this event. It also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content.

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Croatian Journalists Urge PM to Protect Minority Newspaper Amid Far-Right Pressure

Croatian Journalists Urge PM to Protect Minority Newspaper Amid Far-Right Pressure

The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) has called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to intervene after the far-right Homeland Movement demanded an end to public funding for Novosti, a weekly newspaper published on behalf of the Serb national minority in Croatia. The Homeland Movement conditioned its support for Plenkovic's Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party on ending the governing alliance with the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), the primary political party representing Serbs in Croatia.

Why this matters: The pressure on Novosti reflects a broader trend of far-right groups seeking to suppress minority voices and undermine press freedom, with implications for the health of democracy in Croatia and beyond. If successful, this campaign could embolden similar efforts to silence marginalized groups and independent media outlets across the region.

HND President Hrvoje Zovko condemned the "disgusting threats" made against Novosti journalists, thanking the police for their "quick reaction." Zovko warned that other media outlets, including the Croatian public broadcaster HRT, state news agency HINA, and the entire media scene, risk coming under similar attack based on the Homeland Movement's program.

Some Homeland Movement officials have openly called for shutting down Novosti. In response, Zovko urged Prime Minister Plenkovic, President Zoran Milanovic, and the Homeland Movement leadership to condemn all threats against journalists. Andrea Radak, editor-in-chief of Novosti, described an "intense campaign calling for our shutdown," citing the Homeland Movement's demands as a coalition partner.

Radak accused the Homeland Movement of promoting "communal anti-Serbism and revisionism" that started in Vukovar, where the party holds power, and is now spreading nationally. Tihomir Ponos, Novosti's deputy editor-in-chief, characterized the situation as "literally an attempt at a kind of segregation and pushing Serbs and members of other national minorities into a ghetto."

As Prime Minister Plenkovic prepares to announce his new cabinet, HDZ Vice President Ivan Anušić confirmed the party has agreed with the Homeland Movement on key issues, including a review of the Covid crisis handling and a stronger position against "gender ideology." Anušić stated there are no ultimatums in the coalition agreement. Homeland Movement representative Josip Dabro echoed this, saying "Extortion never does anyone any good. There is no extortion here, I agree with my colleague Anušić."

The new Croatian government is expected to be approved by Friday or early next week. Justice Minister Ivan Malenica will be leaving the cabinet to serve as a member of parliament. President Zoran Milanovic has called the opening session of the new parliament for Thursday. As the political situation unfolds, the future of Novosti and press freedom in Croatia hangs in the balance, with journalists' associations urging top officials to take a firm stand against threats and pressure on the media.

Key Takeaways

  • Croatian far-right Homeland Movement demands end to public funding for Serb minority newspaper Novosti.
  • Homeland Movement conditions support for PM Plenkovic's party on ending alliance with Serb party SDSS.
  • Journalists' association HND condemns threats against Novosti, warning of broader implications for press freedom.
  • Novosti editor-in-chief describes "intense campaign" to shut down the newspaper, citing communal anti-Serbism.
  • Croatian government formation hangs in balance, with press freedom and minority voices at risk.