Article originally published on SNH.HR, 18 March 2020 – accessible here
Trade Union of Croatian Journalists and Croatian Journalist’s Association regret that the measures proposed by the Government to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic crisis do not include – the media!
We would like to reminded that since the last crisis in 2008. the number of journalists employed has almost halved, and we believed that the Government, aware of this, would propose measures to protect the people whose importance is shown in these difficult times and who are exposing to danger in order to serve the public.
Therefore, we asked the Ministry of Culture for measures for journalists and the media: first and foremost, in addition to financial relief or delay for entrepreneurs or publishers, guarantees that are firmly in place to secure job preservation, and to ensure that there will be no layoffs of full-time media employees, no cancellation of co-operation with external associates or freelancers, or reduction of salaries for full-time employees, as well as other employment rights. However, we do not see such guarantees in the proposed measures.
The action measures neither provide any relief for freelance journalists in order to give them tax reliefs, nor do they accept the proposal on the possibility of sick pay for part-time associates in case of coronavirus infection.
We also demanded that the process of awarding funds secured through the European Social Fund be accelerated, but also to immediately publish a call for tender for the second tranche, the remaining HRK 15 million, and the announcement of payment of funds to the publishers who are beneficiaries of the Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism. This is not a novelty but contractual obligation and regular payment to those who received these funds in the tender in 2018. We do not know what the conversion of these funds means, and it is unclear how it would be distributed.
In conclusion, we believe that the Government needs to cover the media sector with current measures in order to save jobs and those who play one of the most important roles in society in the current crisis.