Croatia

Western Balkans Public Media on Life Support

Public service broadcasters in the Western Balkans have become increasingly unaccountable to their audiences and tone deaf to their needs. At stake is the very legitimacy of public service broadcasting in the region.
 
Public service broadcasters in the countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia – are in crisis.
 
In Bosnia & Herzegovina, the state-level public broadcaster BHRT announced in July 2016 that it would stop broadcasting its programs due to the lack of funding, highlighting the deep structural crisis of the public service broadcasting system in the country. The decision was later revoked; but the crisis remains.
 

Government Removes All Critical Voices From Croat Public Broadcaster

Shortly after grabbing the country’s political helm, Croatia’s government has begun brashly purging institutions of whomever is not their friend. The public broadcaster HRT is one of their more prominent victims.
 
Croatia’s public service broadcaster, Croatian Radiotelevision (Hrvatska Radiotelevizija, HRT), has undergone many crises in the past two and a half decades, like many of the public service broadcasters in the region. Now, many of its renowned journalists are being removed. This and other editorial changes and shifts at HRT are triggered solely by the change of government, which shows that HRT is far from being a true public service broadcaster.
 
Although it is financed through fees charged on taxpayers, HRT is not close to its public, but serves mainly as a weapon in political power games.

Public Service Media in Europe: Exit Through the Back Door?

Recent turbulence at the Polish public broadcaster was seen by some observers as another political football game. Public broadcasting will survive any market or policy changes, however tumultuous they are, they say. But Minna Aslama argues that public TV has fallen out of political favor in many countries now. Even well-established broadcasters in western countries are likely to be dramatically downsized.

Poland has been featured in global news in the past weeks. A controversial law was passed that allowed the replacement of the directors of Polish public TV and radio with political appointees.

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) notes that this may well be the first step by the Polish government in curbing all free media and commercial outlets. CIMA also reminds us that just a few years before Poland, Hungarians witnessed a severe media crackdown.