The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) and the SNHtrade union of Croatian journalists on Friday most sharply condemned the "atrocious, disgusting and brutal attack" on a female reporter, Andrea Topic who was attacked by four men while reporting in the field.
“HND and SNH most sharply condemn this disgusting attack on our colleague who was only doing her job in the interest of the public and this attack is the consequence of the atmosphere that has been prevalent in Croatia for some time now. We won’t accept this sort of situation,” HND president Hrvoje Zovko said.
Ms Topic was attacked by four men in Ivanbegovina near the town of Imotski while reporting about the house Health Minister Milan Kujundzic was born in. The police on Friday arrested the four men aged 42, 43, 66 and 68.
Zovko underlined that HND and SNH would do their best to inform the international public of this incident.
“HND and SNH are providing all they can to support and help Ms Topic and if incidents like this continue we are not excluding the possibility of a protest rally. There have been too many problems and abuse and most often these are directed against female reporters by courageous men who are mere cowards,” Zovko said.
SNH president Maja Sever warned that this case indicated a trend of the deteriorating status of reporters and conditions they are working in and that they are increasingly being exposed to pressure, scare tactics and attacks.
She commented on a press release by Minister Kujundzic in which he wrote that the men who were working nearby, might have thought that the reporter was a thief.
“In a video recording we saw a young lady sitting alone in a car, they (the men) are sitting on the hood of the car, sneering, grinning mockingly in her face and yelling at her to stop filming. I don’t know whether institutions, the ministry or his public relations officers saw that video before they sent their press release,” Sever said.
Politicians contribute to this sort of atmosphere
HND vice president, Danka Derifaj warned that for months journalists had been receiving very unpleasant responses and insults when asking politicians about their work, assets or matters that the public had the right to know about.
She accused politicians of contributing to this sort of atmosphere with their “conduct, stance and avoiding to answer important questions.” Instead of answers, it is insults that are hurled at reporters, she said.