Journalists Condemn Closure of Croatias Pioneering Feral Tribune as Massive Blow

Jun. 20, 2007

The European Federation of Journalists has deplored the closure of Croatias weekly Feral Tribune calling it a massive blow to media pluralism.

The closure of a paper that has for years been a flagship for press freedom in the region is a massive blow to media pluralism, said EFJ Chair Arne Knig. In a time of increasing financial pressure, the impact of punitive taxation policies can have a devastating impact. For years Feral Tribune has been a symbol of the challenging and independent journalism upon which democracy relies. We call on the Croatian authorities to do more to safeguard pluralism in this hostile commercial environment.

Feral Tribune distinguished itself as the Croatian paper with an abundance of awards. Its journalists challenged the political giants of the region when the war and chaos overwhelmed the Balkans in the 1990s. Its biting journalism exposed the actions of the regime of Slobodan Miloevi? in Serbia and tested the patience of Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman at home. Its reporting, whether in war or in peace time, was always challenging said the EFJ and often at high risk.

The battles fought by Feral Tribune were all about democracy and fundamental rights, said Arne Knig. Even now we appeal for action to try to save and nurture the journalism it pioneered.

The Croatian government recently blocked the papers bank account to collect a VAT debt of 68,200 and another move was announced to collect a further debt of 136.426. This proved to be a fatal blow to the finances of the paper where journalists have not received salaries for months. The papers management accused the authorities of double standards because in the past the Croatian government has written off VAT debts to some state-owned media. The paper also accused large advertisers of discriminating against them.

The EFJ affiliate, the Croatian Journalists Association, called on the authorities to help keep Feral Tribunes alive. Even those who do not agree with Feral Tribune editorial policy should defend Ferals right to survive, said Dragutin Lu?i? Luce, CJA President.

The editorial board of Feral Tribune said that Ferals disappearance from the newsstands will be, whether one likes it or not, a symptom of the future in which journalism will be accorded the miserable role of servitude.

For more information contact the EFJ at 32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in more than 30 countries

IMPORTANT NOTICE: INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to davaotoday @ Davao Today is not responsible for the content of these materials. The opinion expessed in these items does not reflect those of Davao Today and its staff. Please refer to our terms of use/disclaimer.

comments powered by Disqus