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Ongoing media manipulation in Croatia – the case of Karolina Vidović-Krišto

In the old Yugoslavia, the Croatians knew only what the communist government wanted them to know.  Today, in 2013, we Croats do not believe that we have a free and impartial media in Croatia.  The Croatian people are not being informed of what they need to know in order to make educated civic decisions.  Over the last month, a Croatian reporter has been publicly sanctioned and suspended, while her program has been taken off the air solely for giving counterarguments to government policies.  According to some measures, Croatia, a soon to be EU member, is on par with Third World countries such as Burkina Faso and Botswana in terms of media freedom.

“Freedom of the press, or, to be more precise, the benefit of freedom of the press, belongs to everyone – to the citizen as well as the publisher… The crux is not the publisher’s ‘freedom to print'; it is, rather, the citizen’s ‘right to know. ”  Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the board of The New York Times Company

 

Background to present situation

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Croatia has experienced a long line of manipulation and corruption of media integrity.   “Red” journalists are supported even when they do wrong while “Blue” journalists are attacked when they do what they are supposed to do.  In 2000 some 50 journalists and editors were fired from HTV when Ivica Račan came to power.  In 2012, in preparation for new socialist oriented leadership at HTV, about 40 editors and journalists were demoted.

Both UNHCR and Freedom House have found that the media is only partly free in Croatia.  In 2012, Freedom House ranked Croatia in 83rd place out of 197 countries.  In 2011, Croatia ranked 83rd and in 2010 ranked 85th, with the status of a country with partly free media.  Freedom of the media is not improving.

 

The present situation

Karolina Vidović-Krišto

The most recent manipulation and corruption of media independence and integrity, which has sparked outrage in the public, deals with Ms Karolina Vidović-Krišto, a well respected journalist with HRT/HTV.  Ms Vidović-Krišto was the editor and host of a program, produced specifically for the Croatian Diaspora, called “Slika Hrvatske” (Portrait of Croatia).   The program is quite popular and has received wide acclaim for the topics presented and quality of production.

Note:  HRT, and the TV arm HTV, is the main national media entity in Croatia.   You should be aware that HRT/HTV is a public and not private media organization.  The funding for HTV programming comes directly from the people, who are mandated by law to pay a monthly fee for the operation of HTV.  The people are forced to pay for media services but have no say in the nature and editorial content of the programming!

 

On December 29, 2012 Ms Vidović-Krišto hosted an episode that investigated the government’s new policies and strategies on sex education.  The sex education issue has been a topic of widespread debate in Croatia, in the media and by the people online in various forums.  The program was well researched, professionally produced and of significant interest to the citizens of Croatia.  The program, as are most Croatians, was critical of the government policy and the foundations on which the program is based.

On December 30, 2012 the HRT/HTV publically sanctioned Ms Vidović-Krišto, suspended her from her duties and took the show Picture of Croatia off the air.  HRT/HTV made the following statement: “HRT apologizes to viewers of the program Picture of Croatia (which is broadcast for expatriates) for yesterday’s broadcast by editor and host Karolina Vidović-Krišto. We point out that the opinions expressed in the show are not the opinions of HRT.   Due to serious breaches of professional rules and abuse of position, HRT will take strong measures” – HRT said in a statement.

Zdenko Duka, president of the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND), with alleged ties to the previous communist regime and alleged ties to the present “red” government, has done nothing to help Karolina (who is not a red).  He has made comments along the lines of “you got what you deserve”.  Mr Duka has stood behind a “red” journalist who was taken to court for defamation and in which she pleaded guilty.  The CJA / HND is a member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) but many of us do not believe that the CJA/HND lives up to the high international standards for journalism.

Ms Vidović-Krišto is receiving support from large segments of the population but the government is ignoring the people.  The Croatian Diaspora, which is accustomed to a media system outside of government control, is particularly outraged.  Numerous people from around the world wrote letters of support for Ms Vidović-Krišto and sent them to the HRT main office, but no one ever received a response.

A Facebook support page for Ms Vidović-Krišto has accumulated more than 25,000 supporters in less than a week – a huge accomplishment in Croatian social media.  A survey in the largest Croatian newspaper, Vecernji List, shows the high level of support for the program with 84% of online respondents said “Finally, they said what is true”.

 

The importance of a free and independent media

The media in Croatia appears to be more of a government propaganda arm rather than a servant of the people and a check on the government.  With important local elections occurring later this year and a presidential election next year, debate about government policy must be promoted.  Manipulation and corruption of Croatian media independence and integrity, at the only public media entity in the country, destroys the fundamental rights of Croatian citizens to information and subsequently making informed decisions in civic life and elections.

This incident sets an extremely bad precedent because journalists across Croatia are now, more than ever, afraid of speaking against the government.  There are numerous journalists, especially in the younger generation, that want to be impartial investigative journalists – but are afraid of voicing their concerns.  In a country with unemployment at about 20% and near 40% for those under 25, keeping your job is a powerful motivator to “toe the party line”.

When journalists are afraid of the government, so too are the citizens.  If democratic institutions in Croatia are to mature, and people feel empowered to be civically active and to fulfill their civic duties, the freedom and integrity of the media must be protected!

Change is not happening from the inside as indicated in the MSI Professional Journalism assessment for Croatia in the graphic below.

graph Ongoing media manipulation in Croatia – the case of Karolina Vidović Krišto

We hope that investigation and pressure from around the globe can help Croatia become a First World nation in media integrity and freedom.

Željko Zidarić

Civic Innovation Incubator

Zagreb – Toronto

Thank you for protecting our families

pic 293x300 Ongoing media manipulation in Croatia – the case of Karolina Vidović Krišto

  • jureizljubice February 2, 2013

    something is really wrong with this article…it s not about freedom of journalism we talk about here..it s about church agressive and conservative propaganda and preassure we don t want here as a secular country…you poeple should know better a subject you write about…this is not good…and what is this :”In the old Yugoslavia, the Croatians knew only what the communist government wanted them to know”. you think you in USA know more than your government wanted to know?! you are so funny people..looool…we had sort of socialism btw, not comunism here…educate yourself….

    • PickAname February 2, 2013

      Croatian Communist party, does it sounds familiar to you? KPH? Yugoslav Communist party? How ’bout that? Wikipedia: On 7 April 1963, the nation changed its official name to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Josip Broz Tito was named President for Life.
      In the SFRY, each republic and province had its own constitution,
      supreme court, parliament, president and prime minister. At the top of
      the Yugoslav government were the President (Tito), the federal Prime
      Minister, and the federal Parliament (a collective Presidency was formed
      after Tito’s death in 1980). Also important were the Communist Party general secretaries for each republic and province, and the general secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party.

    • parent February 5, 2013

      the propaganda which is it? The fact is that Ms. Karolina gained instant dismissal after she show presented facts that do not like her superiors and governing structures. Thay are not the only parents who are believers who do not want hedonistic sexual enlightenment of children so that thay can after ten years earns in schools by offering sex toys, medicines used to treat sexually transmitted diseases, condoms, etc

      • Rod March 15, 2014

        I’m with you all the way they are offering these corruptions to children in North America in a small way in select schools testing the waters to see how we react. But since most people here have no interest in anything to do with morality these days and hardly anyone votes or gets involved in politics it’s creeping in not so slowly. I think it’s the end of the world coming this great corruption going on is certainly evil.

    • Ivana Šimić May 9, 2013

      thats not true at all!

  • jureizljubice February 2, 2013

    something is really wrong with this article…it s not about freedom of journalism we talk about here..it s about church agressive and conservative propaganda and preassure we don t want here as a secular country…you poeple should know better a subject you write about…this is not good…and what is this :”In the old Yugoslavia, the Croatians knew only what the communist government wanted them to know”. you think you in USA know more than your government wanted to know?! you are so funny people..looool…we had sort of socialism btw, not comunism here…educate yourself….

    • PickAname February 2, 2013

      Croatian Communist party, does it sounds familiar to you? KPH? Yugoslav Communist party? How ’bout that? Wikipedia: On 7 April 1963, the nation changed its official name to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Josip Broz Tito was named President for Life.
      In the SFRY, each republic and province had its own constitution,
      supreme court, parliament, president and prime minister. At the top of
      the Yugoslav government were the President (Tito), the federal Prime
      Minister, and the federal Parliament (a collective Presidency was formed
      after Tito’s death in 1980). Also important were the Communist Party general secretaries for each republic and province, and the general secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party.

    • parent February 5, 2013

      the propaganda which is it? The fact is that Ms. Karolina gained instant dismissal after she show presented facts that do not like her superiors and governing structures. Thay are not the only parents who are believers who do not want hedonistic sexual enlightenment of children so that thay can after ten years earns in schools by offering sex toys, medicines used to treat sexually transmitted diseases, condoms, etc

    • Ivana Šimić May 9, 2013

      thats not true at all!

  • Nejc February 2, 2013

    The mentioned TV editor Ms. Krišto simply misused a public TV show for aggressive and offensive apology of ultra-conservatives in Croatia. She simply made up “facts” as e.g. that a modern subject of sexuality education which is just about to be introduced in schools would be based on pedophily, pro-abortus propaganda etc. Of course the planned subject of sexuality education is a modern and democratic approach to rise the teenagers awareness of the important topic of interpersonal relationships.

    People from US are well aware, how aggressive fanatics of anti-abortion front can be and how often they are using dirty lies to convince public.

    And it is interesting, how the author of the post above simply neglect the issue of the discussed TV show.

    • ivana February 3, 2013

      you are liar

    • Darko T. February 4, 2013

      Who are you to shut down public policy debates just because you do not like the opposing viewpoints? You attack the person rather than the issue. Typical of those that just want to push their agenda.

    • IVukic February 4, 2013

      Well, Nejc – you are wrong, terribly wrong. Ms Kristo did not misuse public TV because public TV is there to provide the public with all possible information about a pertinent subject causing disquiet in society. This time it was the controversial sex education in schools curriculum Ms Kristo simply gave an alternate view and background information etc based on research that was e.g. accepted in US (Kinsey). Whether one likes it or not the facts presented in her show stand. There is no fanaticism in her show – as you know, undoubtedly, sex education in school is a touchy topic everywhere in the world and the Croatian version came about with little consultation with stakeholders such as parents and community.

      When Ms Kristo was suspended from Cro TV because of her show the TV heads said nothing about which professional rules of her profession she had breached – they just said she breached them! Now, that is the way things are done in totalitarian systems – the public is entitled to know which and how the rules were breached so that it can judge itself, since the TV went on and said she breached the rules.

      • Zeljko Zed Zidaric February 4, 2013

        Ms Vukic, well said!

        The “official” reason for the suspension (to the best of my understanding of what happened) is due to copyright issues. HRT says that Karolina did not have the rights to the content that she used in her program.

        The odd thing is that Prof. Judith Reisman says that Karolina had all rights to use all parts of the Kinsey documentary on her show. Prof Reisman allows everyone to use the documentary in their struggle against the sexual social experimentation being carried out by the liberal left.

        • IVukic February 4, 2013

          Well Zeljko, if that was the case that Katarina did not have copyright, why was she the only one (an employee) to get the boot! Isn’t the ultimate responsibility on the employer to ensure compliance with the law (copyright law). Ah, Crp TV thinks that it’s still the times of communist power where those at the top call the shots and are supposed to be untouchable! What a load of rubbish – I haven’t seen anybody else except Katarina to suffer from this supposed breach of copyright… the owner of copyright would knock on HTV management door for any breach not on an employee’s door in any country except Croatia it seems. But as you say Katarina had the necessary permissions and Cro TV thinks people are naive and can serve hogwash without being questioned. I hope HTV gets its deserved backlash.

          • croatian parent February 5, 2013

            lady’s name is Karolina

  • Nejc February 2, 2013

    The mentioned TV editor Ms. Krišto simply misused a public TV show for aggressive and offensive apology of ultra-conservatives in Croatia. She simply made up “facts” as e.g. that a modern subject of sexuality education which is just about to be introduced in schools would be based on pedophily, pro-abortus propaganda etc. Of course the planned subject of sexuality education is a modern and democratic approach to rise the teenagers awareness of the important topic of interpersonal relationships.

    People from US are well aware, how aggressive fanatics of anti-abortion front can be and how often they are using dirty lies to convince public.

    And it is interesting, how the author of the post above simply neglect the issue of the discussed TV show.

    • ivana February 3, 2013

      you are liar

    • Darko T. February 4, 2013

      Who are you to shut down public policy debates just because you do not like the opposing viewpoints? You attack the person rather than the issue. Typical of those that just want to push their agenda.

    • IVukic February 4, 2013

      Well, Nejc – you are wrong, terribly wrong. Ms Kristo did not misuse public TV because public TV is there to provide the public with all possible information about a pertinent subject causing disquiet in society. This time it was the controversial sex education in schools curriculum Ms Kristo simply gave an alternate view and background information etc based on research that was e.g. accepted in US (Kinsey). Whether one likes it or not the facts presented in her show stand. There is no fanaticism in her show – as you know, undoubtedly, sex education in school is a touchy topic everywhere in the world and the Croatian version came about with little consultation with stakeholders such as parents and community.

      When Ms Kristo was suspended from Cro TV because of her show the TV heads said nothing about which professional rules of her profession she had breached – they just said she breached them! Now, that is the way things are done in totalitarian systems – the public is entitled to know which and how the rules were breached so that it can judge itself, since the TV went on and said she breached the rules.

      • Zeljko Zed Zidaric February 4, 2013

        Ms Vukic, well said!

        The “official” reason for the suspension (to the best of my understanding of what happened) is due to copyright issues. HRT says that Karolina did not have the rights to the content that she used in her program.

        The odd thing is that Prof. Judith Reisman says that Karolina had all rights to use all parts of the Kinsey documentary on her show. Prof Reisman allows everyone to use the documentary in their struggle against the sexual social experimentation being carried out by the liberal left.

        • IVukic February 4, 2013

          Well Zeljko, if that was the case that Katarina did not have copyright, why was she the only one (an employee) to get the boot! Isn’t the ultimate responsibility on the employer to ensure compliance with the law (copyright law). Ah, Crp TV thinks that it’s still the times of communist power where those at the top call the shots and are supposed to be untouchable! What a load of rubbish – I haven’t seen anybody else except Katarina to suffer from this supposed breach of copyright… the owner of copyright would knock on HTV management door for any breach not on an employee’s door in any country except Croatia it seems. But as you say Katarina had the necessary permissions and Cro TV thinks people are naive and can serve hogwash without being questioned. I hope HTV gets its deserved backlash.

          • croatian parent February 5, 2013

            lady’s name is Karolina

  • John-C February 2, 2013

    “The funding for HTV programming comes directly from the people, who are mandated by law to pay a monthly fee for the operation of HTV. The people are forced to pay for media services but have no say in the nature and editorial content of the programming!”… the same applies to the BBC in the UK. Anyone having the audacity to claim they do not need to pay for a TV license is hounded through the courts. And when the UK Government brought in the Freedom of Information Act in 2000, it gave the BBC an exemption meaning it did not have to account to the public for any of it’s editorial decision making (or much else for that matter). The list of stories the BBC has censored by ommission is considerable (all for the Government’s benefit), e.g. not reporting the huge professional and public opposition to the recent Health & Social Act which sets up the privatisation of the NHS; not reporting the Steubenville high school rape case whilst reporting very thoroughly the India rapes (because gang rape doesn’t happen in “white countries”); and not reporting Operation Fernbridge which is uncovering a network of politicians and businessmen paedophiles who abused chidren from childrens homes in the 1980’s… why are the BBC listed on this websites “indy media” page?

    • Darko T. February 4, 2013

      The HRT in Croatia appears to be run by “reds”.

      How does a small country like Croatia overcome problems that a large and sophisticated democracy like the UK can’t overcome?

      Does the BBC not have some form of public oversight committee that would ensure equal access to the airways for all viewpoints?

      How do the people take back what they pay for?

  • John-C February 2, 2013

    “The funding for HTV programming comes directly from the people, who are mandated by law to pay a monthly fee for the operation of HTV. The people are forced to pay for media services but have no say in the nature and editorial content of the programming!”… the same applies to the BBC in the UK. Anyone having the audacity to claim they do not need to pay for a TV license is hounded through the courts. And when the UK Government brought in the Freedom of Information Act in 2000, it gave the BBC an exemption meaning it did not have to account to the public for any of it’s editorial decision making (or much else for that matter). The list of stories the BBC has censored by ommission is considerable (all for the Government’s benefit), e.g. not reporting the huge professional and public opposition to the recent Health & Social Act which sets up the privatisation of the NHS; not reporting the Steubenville high school rape case whilst reporting very thoroughly the India rapes (because gang rape doesn’t happen in “white countries”); and not reporting Operation Fernbridge which is uncovering a network of politicians and businessmen paedophiles who abused chidren from childrens homes in the 1980’s… why are the BBC listed on this websites “indy media” page?

    • Darko T. February 4, 2013

      The HRT in Croatia appears to be run by “reds”.

      How does a small country like Croatia overcome problems that a large and sophisticated democracy like the UK can’t overcome?

      Does the BBC not have some form of public oversight committee that would ensure equal access to the airways for all viewpoints?

      How do the people take back what they pay for?

  • ivana February 3, 2013

    thank you for sharing this informations. People world wide need to know what is going on over here in Croatia. Communists and atheists govern this country again. We need lustration soon as posible!!

  • ivana February 3, 2013

    thank you for sharing this informations. People world wide need to know what is going on over here in Croatia. Communists and atheists govern this country again. We need lustration soon as posible!!

  • Zeljko Zed Zidaric February 4, 2013

    Ms Vidivic-Kristo did not “abuse” her position and her position is not “ultra-conservative”. She addressed the same concerns and provided that same arguments that we use here in Canada. Mr Nejc, since when is informing the public aggressive and offensive? Would you consider 60 Minutes aggressive and offensive?

    Maybe I spent too much time explaining what the show was about. The topic of the show is not the key issue. The key issue is that the Croatian government – via control of the HRT – is preventing the necessary public debate about this topic and many others. Th government is doing this to many topics.

    The media is supposed to inform the people about what is happening. In a democracy public debate is necessary. When we look at the Freedom House media freedom scores for the last decade we see a clear trend towards LESS media freedom.

    I, like so many others, just want an honest and open debate so that informed decisions can be made. Prof Judith Reisman is in Croatia now speaking about the documentary on which Karolina’s documentary is based and she is getting incredible support from the average person!

    • Darko T. February 4, 2013

      Agree!

      I hope that Professor Judith Reisman adds some comments about her experience in Croatia to this story.

  • Zeljko Zed Zidaric February 4, 2013

    Ms Vidivic-Kristo did not “abuse” her position and her position is not “ultra-conservative”. Nejc, since when is informing the public aggressive and offensive? Would you consider 60 Minutes aggressive and offensive?

    Maybe I spent too much time explaining what the show was about. The topic of the show is not the key issue. The key issue is that the Croatian government – via control of the HRT – is preventing the necessary public debate about this topic and many others.

    The media is supposed to inform the people about what is happening. In a democracy public debate is necessary. When we look at the Freedom House media freedom scores for the last decade we see a clear trend towards LESS media freedom.

    I, like so many others, just want an honest and open debate so that informed decisions can be made. Prof Judith Reisman is in Croatia now speaking about the documentary on which Karolina’s documentary is based and she is getting incredible support from the average person!

    • Darko T. February 4, 2013

      Agree!

      I hope that Professor Judith Reisman adds some comments about her experience in Croatia to this story.

  • Marina February 4, 2013

    There is no such thing as freedom of media in Croatia. It’s a well known fact here that as new goverment wins the election, editors and journalists change.(Same thing with head managers of major companies) Everyone knows it, but no one seems to care.

    Mrs Kristo mentioned abortion once in her programme and it had nothing to do with the church. It was not a propaganda, it just showed the other side of the story, and that is obviously not allowed here.
    Sad truth is that “liberals” in Croatia are everything but that. They claim they are fighting for people’s rights, but they don’t even allow freedom of speech!

    Hipocracy of the highest level: they accused Mrs Kristo for being “unproffessional”, forgeting that their sex education programme doesnt even have scientific reviews (which every schoolbook MUST have)

  • Marina February 4, 2013

    There is no such thing as freedom of media in Croatia. It’s a well known fact here that as new goverment wins the election, editors and journalists change.(Same thing with head managers of major companies) Everyone knows it, but no one seems to care.

    Mrs Kristo mentioned abortion once in her programme and it had nothing to do with the church. It was not a propaganda, it just showed the other side of the story, and that is obviously not allowed here.
    Sad truth is that “liberals” in Croatia are everything but that. They claim they are fighting for people’s rights, but they don’t even allow freedom of speech!

    Hipocracy of the highest level: they accused Mrs Kristo for being “unproffessional”, forgeting that their sex education programme doesnt even have scientific reviews (which every schoolbook MUST have)

  • CROATIAN February 4, 2013

    Details of the situation to provide better context.

    Croatian Radio-Television, HRT, suspended Producer/Presenter of its international TV program THE PICTURE OF CROATIA because she used excerpts from the American made documentary THE KINSEY SYNDROME. Also, THE PORTRAIT OF CROATIA was completely taken off air without any contact let alone understandable explanation to the Producer.

    This unprecedented happening began on 30th December 2012, when the following announcement (in Croatian) suddenly appeared on HRT TELETEKST:

    “HRT apologizes to the viewers of THE PICTURE OF CROATIA, which is broadcast for emigrants, for its Saturday (29/12/2012) program that was produced and presented by Karolina Vidovic Kristo.

    We emphasize that the views expressed in that program are not those of HRT. Due to serious rule-breaking in the professional context and misuse of authority HRT shall conduct stringent measures.”

    The announcement appeared without any prior written and/or verbal contact with the PORTRAIT OF CROATIA Producer/Presenter Mrs Karolina Vidovic Kristo – something that would not perhaps be normal in North Korea but not in any civilized and democratic country, including Croatia.

    The HRT Management obviously reacted in this unprecedented way to the content of THE PICTURE OF CROATIA broadcasted a day earlier which focused on the new controversial and much debated sex education curriculum in Croatian primary schools. The alleged ‘rule-breaking’ and ‘misuse of authority’ was evidently related to excerpts from the American film The Kinsey Syndrome, by Professor Judith Riesman, which exposed the controversial Kinsey sexual experiments on children.

    The most shocking fact is that over the next few days, nobody from HRT Management felt obliged to contact Program’s Producer/Presenter Mrs Karolina Vidovic Kristo. She contacted
    HRT TV Editor in Chief Dean Sosa on 30th December 2012 to find out what happened and why. His answer was: “You tell me”. Without any understandable explanation he added that he is “ashamed because the program that went to air”. On 4th January, when she met with him face to face, Mr Sosa could not give Mrs Vidovic Kristo any further explanations about the decision to suspend her and to completely abolish her program THE PICTURE OF CROATIA. But he promised to give her a written explanation in due course. So far, this has not happen. Why? What was he afraid of? What was he hiding? For days there were no answers to any of these obvious questions.

    Shocked and disappointed since her program was never
    before under any scrutiny, Mrs Karolina Vidovic Kristo wrote to the HRT Board seeking their assistance and reaction. Among other things, she stated that in a recent meeting (which took place before the said program was broadcasted) the newly appointed HRT Director General Goran Radman gave her and her overall contribution at HRT his full support. Furthermore, there were no reasons from the past o present that would justify the sudden abolishment of THE PICTURE OF CROATIA. Despite that HRT Board and Management decided not to provide any
    adequate replies – either written or verbal.

    In the meantime, nationwide debates on the controversial sex education curriculum have continued dominating on most media
    outlets – many of them started including the case of Ms Karolina Vidovic Kristo’s suspension and the abolishment of her program THE PICTURE OF CROATIA. The debates are still going on and the views range between those of total support to total dismay. For example, the Head of the Catholic Church in Croatia
    Cardinal Josip Bozanic personally met with Ms Vidovic Kristo on 7th January 2013 to show his support, while the Croatian Journalist Association in its media release condemned her for using the American documentary film. The Association President Zdenko Duka even described the said program produced by Mrs Vidovic Kristo as “unprofessional”. Mr Duka started his journalist carrier in the communist era.

    Finally, on 24th January 2013 some of the questions started being answered – at the Government level. During Question Time in Croatian Sabor (Parliament), the Prime Minister Zoran
    Milanovic was asked about the controversial abolishment of HRT’s program PORTRAIT OF CROATIA and the suspension of its Producer/Presenter. Naturally, he first denied any involvement but then said that the Producer of PORTRAIT OF CROATIA did not have the required TV rights to broadcast the excerpts from the said documentary film and that she presented a huge and renowned organisation in a bad way.

    This is far from the truth because the author Professor Judith Reisman has given the required rights to broadcast and rebroadcast her documentary film The Kinsey Syndrome,
    not only to the Producer of THE PORTRAIT OF CROATIA but many other classic and internet media outlets around the world.

    The most logical assumption is that the Croatian Government
    and/or its institutions are involved in this obvious case of clumsy censorship
    – primarily the Education Ministry which has been blatantly and stubbornly avoiding constructive public debates about its new health education program for schools
    – something that many church leaders and civil associations have been strongly demanding.

    Parents reportedly support the new Croatian health program but many of them seek explanations about its sex education module. Especially controversial is the so called “instruction literature for teachers”. Parts of that literature allegedly instruct teachers to promote homosexual and other minority choices at the expense of those of traditional family values. Some critics of the so called “sex module” also claim that it will cause a “total destruction of the society as we know it”.

    On the other hand, there is no doubt that the film by Professor Judith Reisman strongly attacks all reforms (past and present) that were originally instigated by Kinsey. It deals with the controversial experiments conducted many years ago by Kinsey and his team. It is also controversial because it suggests that it inspired many negative changes to the traditional family lifestyle in the USA and other democratic societies. However:

    · Can governments be democratic if they suppress public debates?

    · Can media organizations continue to be in the category of ‘public broadcasters’ if they censor films that have been broadcast in other democratic countries?

    · Should public broadcasters be allowed to suspend producers and journalist for doing their jobs – for seeking and investigating all available sources and materials in order to find the whole truth?

    · Why did HRT entirely abolish broadcasting of PORTRAIT OF CROATIA, the only program that promotes interaction and integrations between homeland Croatians and those who live and work in democratic countries on all continents?

    · Why shouldn’t journalists, in this day and age, internationalize and globalize their investigative work in all areas of public interest – including sex education?

    · Can international media organisations, journalist associations and human rights observers remain inactive in this case of pure discrimination?

  • CROATIAN February 4, 2013

    Details of the situation to provide better context.

    Croatian Radio-Television, HRT, suspended Producer/Presenter of its international TV program THE PICTURE OF CROATIA because she used excerpts from the American made documentary THE KINSEY SYNDROME. Also, THE PORTRAIT OF CROATIA was completely taken off air without any contact let alone understandable explanation to the Producer.

    This unprecedented happening began on 30th December 2012, when the following announcement (in Croatian) suddenly appeared on HRT TELETEKST:

    “HRT apologizes to the viewers of THE PICTURE OF CROATIA, which is broadcast for emigrants, for its Saturday (29/12/2012) program that was produced and presented by Karolina Vidovic Kristo.

    We emphasize that the views expressed in that program are not those of HRT. Due to serious rule-breaking in the professional context and misuse of authority HRT shall conduct stringent measures.”

    The announcement appeared without any prior written and/or verbal contact with the PORTRAIT OF CROATIA Producer/Presenter Mrs Karolina Vidovic Kristo – something that would not perhaps be normal in North Korea but not in any civilized and democratic country, including Croatia.

    The HRT Management obviously reacted in this unprecedented way to the content of THE PICTURE OF CROATIA broadcasted a day earlier which focused on the new controversial and much debated sex education curriculum in Croatian primary schools. The alleged ‘rule-breaking’ and ‘misuse of authority’ was evidently related to excerpts from the American film The Kinsey Syndrome, by Professor Judith Riesman, which exposed the controversial Kinsey sexual experiments on children.

    The most shocking fact is that over the next few days, nobody from HRT Management felt obliged to contact Program’s Producer/Presenter Mrs Karolina Vidovic Kristo. She contacted
    HRT TV Editor in Chief Dean Sosa on 30th December 2012 to find out what happened and why. His answer was: “You tell me”. Without any understandable explanation he added that he is “ashamed because the program that went to air”. On 4th January, when she met with him face to face, Mr Sosa could not give Mrs Vidovic Kristo any further explanations about the decision to suspend her and to completely abolish her program THE PICTURE OF CROATIA. But he promised to give her a written explanation in due course. So far, this has not happen. Why? What was he afraid of? What was he hiding? For days there were no answers to any of these obvious questions.

    Shocked and disappointed since her program was never
    before under any scrutiny, Mrs Karolina Vidovic Kristo wrote to the HRT Board seeking their assistance and reaction. Among other things, she stated that in a recent meeting (which took place before the said program was broadcasted) the newly appointed HRT Director General Goran Radman gave her and her overall contribution at HRT his full support. Furthermore, there were no reasons from the past o present that would justify the sudden abolishment of THE PICTURE OF CROATIA. Despite that HRT Board and Management decided not to provide any
    adequate replies – either written or verbal.

    In the meantime, nationwide debates on the controversial sex education curriculum have continued dominating on most media
    outlets – many of them started including the case of Ms Karolina Vidovic Kristo’s suspension and the abolishment of her program THE PICTURE OF CROATIA. The debates are still going on and the views range between those of total support to total dismay. For example, the Head of the Catholic Church in Croatia
    Cardinal Josip Bozanic personally met with Ms Vidovic Kristo on 7th January 2013 to show his support, while the Croatian Journalist Association in its media release condemned her for using the American documentary film. The Association President Zdenko Duka even described the said program produced by Mrs Vidovic Kristo as “unprofessional”. Mr Duka started his journalist carrier in the communist era.

    Finally, on 24th January 2013 some of the questions started being answered – at the Government level. During Question Time in Croatian Sabor (Parliament), the Prime Minister Zoran
    Milanovic was asked about the controversial abolishment of HRT’s program PORTRAIT OF CROATIA and the suspension of its Producer/Presenter. Naturally, he first denied any involvement but then said that the Producer of PORTRAIT OF CROATIA did not have the required TV rights to broadcast the excerpts from the said documentary film and that she presented a huge and renowned organisation in a bad way.

    This is far from the truth because the author Professor Judith Reisman has given the required rights to broadcast and rebroadcast her documentary film The Kinsey Syndrome,
    not only to the Producer of THE PORTRAIT OF CROATIA but many other classic and internet media outlets around the world.

    The most logical assumption is that the Croatian Government
    and/or its institutions are involved in this obvious case of clumsy censorship
    – primarily the Education Ministry which has been blatantly and stubbornly avoiding constructive public debates about its new health education program for schools
    – something that many church leaders and civil associations have been strongly demanding.

    Parents reportedly support the new Croatian health program but many of them seek explanations about its sex education module. Especially controversial is the so called “instruction literature for teachers”. Parts of that literature allegedly instruct teachers to promote homosexual and other minority choices at the expense of those of traditional family values. Some critics of the so called “sex module” also claim that it will cause a “total destruction of the society as we know it”.

    On the other hand, there is no doubt that the film by Professor Judith Reisman strongly attacks all reforms (past and present) that were originally instigated by Kinsey. It deals with the controversial experiments conducted many years ago by Kinsey and his team. It is also controversial because it suggests that it inspired many negative changes to the traditional family lifestyle in the USA and other democratic societies. However:

    · Can governments be democratic if they suppress public debates?

    · Can media organizations continue to be in the category of ‘public broadcasters’ if they censor films that have been broadcast in other democratic countries?

    · Should public broadcasters be allowed to suspend producers and journalist for doing their jobs – for seeking and investigating all available sources and materials in order to find the whole truth?

    · Why did HRT entirely abolish broadcasting of PORTRAIT OF CROATIA, the only program that promotes interaction and integrations between homeland Croatians and those who live and work in democratic countries on all continents?

    · Why shouldn’t journalists, in this day and age, internationalize and globalize their investigative work in all areas of public interest – including sex education?

    · Can international media organisations, journalist associations and human rights observers remain inactive in this case of pure discrimination?

  • Simpo pimpo February 4, 2013

    extremely bad situation in journalism!!

  • Simpo pimpo February 4, 2013

    extremely bad situation in journalism!!

  • Srecko February 5, 2013

    Full support for Karolina Vidović-Krišto!

  • Srecko February 5, 2013

    Full support for Karolina Vidović-Krišto!

  • Mirjana February 5, 2013

    Hvala vam za širenje istine o ovoj nepravdi i svim nepravdama u hrvatskom medijskom prostoru gdje je cenzura postala praksa. Nadam se da će doći vrijeme da se čuje glas i onih koji ne razmišljaju isto kao naši Vlastodršci.

  • Mirjana February 5, 2013

    Hvala vam za širenje istine o ovoj nepravdi i svim nepravdama u hrvatskom medijskom prostoru gdje je cenzura postala praksa. Nadam se da će doći vrijeme da se čuje glas i onih koji ne razmišljaju isto kao naši Vlastodršci.

  • Pero Kolenc Ercegovac February 5, 2013

    The fact is that in Croatia one cannot express a belief differing to the one held by the SDP run Govt without being harangued in a true communist “Sačekuša”, ie, for non-Croats- public ambush. Something we witnessed with the visit of Prof. Reisman. The same old intellectuals are wheeled out not to argue their points but to defame the person in a bid to destroy his/her public image. But what else can we expect when the new man in charge of HTV, Goran Radman, was the last man in charge just before communism supposedly fell. The thing is in the same week that Karolina was suspended the doyen of the conservative journalism Tihomir Dujmović also got sacked from Večernji list for criticising a key advisor to the President of Croatia Josipović. All I can say is that both Karolina and Tihomir have my full support for what its worth.

    • SKovac February 8, 2013

      A debate on any issue should, in all honesty, include participants familiar with the background and basic facts of the issue at hand. Parents in Croatia who have never read the curriculum they are resisting or accessed any information about Kinsey or his place in modern science should do so before making their ill-informed views heard by others.

      In response to remarks on the defamation of Ms Reisman, these were certainly not staved off by her own unsupported and serious accusations aimed at defaming others with no claim to evidence that would support her statements.

      As a person born and living in Croatia I can also safely say that the claim that the majority of the people support Ms Vidovic Kristo or Ms Reisman is at best highly debatable, and in all probability no more than an illusion.

      • Pero Kolenc Ercegovac June 26, 2013

        I live in Croatia as well and… seems to me you are doing your job well SKovac. So is the sun shining on Ibler Square this morning? Lets put it this way if it is “highly debatable” that most people support Karolina and Judith then the next step is to say 749,000 signatures for the referendum is a flash in the pan, prove me wrong and convince your communist Yugoslav brethren at SDP HQ to not hinder the referendum coming up, i.e., put your money where your metaphoric mouth is.

  • Pero Kolenc Ercegovac February 5, 2013

    The fact is that in Croatia one cannot express a belief differing to the one held by the SDP run Govt without being harangued in a true communist “Sačekuša”, ie, for non-Croats- public ambush. Something we witnessed with the visit of Prof. Reisman. The same old intellectuals are wheeled out not to argue their points but to defame the person in a bid to destroy his/her public image. But what else can we expect when the new man in charge of HTV, Goran Radman, was the last man in charge just before communism supposedly fell. The thing is in the same week that Karolina was suspended the doyen of the conservative journalism Tihomir Dujmović also got sacked from Večernji list for criticising a key advisor to the President of Croatia Josipović. All I can say is that both Karolina and Tihomir have my full support for what its worth.

    • SKovac February 8, 2013

      A debate on any issue should, in all honesty, include participants familiar with the background and basic facts of the issue at hand. Parents in Croatia who have never read the curriculum they are resisting or accessed any information about Kinsey or his place in modern science should do so before making their ill-informed views heard by others.

      In response to remarks on the defamation of Ms Reisman, these were certainly not staved off by her own unsupported and serious accusations aimed at defaming others with no claim to evidence that would support her statements.

      As a person born and living in Croatia I can also safely say that the claim that the majority of the people support Ms Vidovic Kristo or Ms Reisman is at best highly debatable, and in all probability no more than an illusion.

  • Toni April 3, 2013

    i never heard on cnn or bbc that journalists are welcoming people with “Praise the Lord” or something. Western media is more manipulative and it has nothing to do with “fake” democracy we are live in. And television shouldn’t promote any kind of religious or idealistic system and this has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

  • Toni April 3, 2013

    i never heard on cnn or bbc that journalists are welcoming people with “Praise the Lord” or something. Western media is more manipulative and it has nothing to do with “fake” democracy we are live in. And television shouldn’t promote any kind of religious or idealistic system and this has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

    • Concerned June 26, 2013

      Neither should it support communism nor post-Yugoslav ideology but it does here. But why on earth should the BBC be always used as an example is unknown to me when all people in the know understand it is far from independent and merely is an extension of official British foreign policy. As for Croatia this means a supporter of the old communist elites who did the dirty work for them from 1945 to 1991, and continued to do so throughout the Homeland War. Toni, Yugoslavia is dead, so is communism. Stop justifying a sin in the name of your ideological bent. BVB.

  • Hadrian June 25, 2013

    Dear sir, this article is a complete idiotism. First of all, Mrs. Vidović Krišto is not a professional but part-time journalist, and second, the majority of people in Croatia ABSOLUTELY support the measures for sexual education provided by the Government. Facts before words, please.

    • Pero Kolenc Ercegovac June 26, 2013

      She is a full time journalist. You should check your facts. Whoever is feeding you facts is using your good nature for manipulation. Or should I say welcome to post-communist communism ;o)

  • Rod March 15, 2014

    The funding for HTV programming comes directly from the people, who are mandated by law to pay a monthly fee for the operation of HTV. The people are forced to pay for media services but have no say in the nature and editorial content of the programming!

    Oh well welcome to Canada and the CBC.

    You think Russian satellite countries are the only ones with a manipulated media? Give me break every country in the new EU Britain and the the USA are manipulated not just to the degradation of their own people but to the entire world. That is unless you are royalty a powerful corporation or individual or part of the hierarchy of the government.

  • Marcus March 29, 2014

    “:In the old Yugoslavia, the Croatians knew only what the communist government wanted them to know.”

    And, under the International finance capital/IMF regime Croatians don’t even know that much…Here stuff some more lady ga ga into your brain pan

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