Media of Croatia

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Dnevnik is one of HRT's popular news-programs.

The media of Croatia refers to mass media outlets based in Croatia. Television, magazines, and newspapers are all operated by both state-owned and for-profit corporations which depend on advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. The Constitution of Croatia guarantees freedom of speech and Croatia ranked 65th in the 2014 Press Freedom Index report compiled by Reporters Without Borders, between Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In broadcasting, the government-funded corporation Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT) had a monopoly on nationally aired broadcasting until the late 1990s, although a number of local radio and TV stations began to sprung up since the 1980s. In the years following the fall of communism and the subsequent liberalisation of the media market, HRT was reorganised with its infrastructure branch established as a separate company Transmitters and Communications Ltd (OiV), and a system in which privately owned corporations can acquire renewable broadcast licenses at the national and county levels was adopted. The first national for-profit channel Nova TV thus launched in 2000 and it was joined by RTL four years later in 2004. Both Nova TV and RTL are foreign-owned.

In print media, the market is dominated by the Croatian Europapress Holding and Austrian Styria Media Group companies which publish their flagship dailies Jutarnji list, Večernji list and 24sata. Other widely read national dailies are Novi list and the government-owned Vjesnik. The most popular current affairs weekly is Globus, along with a number of specialised publications, some of which are published by government-sponsored cultural institutions. In book publishing, the market is dominated by several major publishing houses such as Školska knjiga, Profil, VBZ, Algoritam and Mozaik and the industry's centrepiece event is the Interliber trade fair held annually in Zagreb and open to public.

Croatia's film industry is small in size and heavily assisted by the government, mainly through grants approved by the Ministry of Culture with films often being co-produced by HRT. The ministry also sponsors Pula Film Festival, the annual national film awards, as well as a variety of specialised international film festivals such as Animafest and ZagrebDox, which often feature programs showcasing works by local filmmakers.

Internet is in widespread use in the country, with approximately 63% of population having an access from home in 2012. Croatian Wikipedia (Croatian: Wikipedija na hrvatskom jeziku), the version of Wikipedia available in Croatian, was started on February 16, 2003. In late 2013, it received attention from international media for promoting fascist, right-wing worldview as well as bias against Serbs of Croatia and anti-LGBT propaganda by the means of historical revisionism and by negating or diluting the severity of crimes committed by the Ustaše regime.[1]

Legislative framework[edit]

The Constitution of Croatia protects freedom of expression and freedom of the press, bans censorship, and guarantees the rights of journalists to report and to access information. It guarantees the right to correction, if legal rights are violated by published news.[2]

The media in Croatia are regulated by the Law on Media, the Law on Electronic Media, the Law on Croatian Radio-Television and the Law on the Right to Access Information. The Croatian legislation, including media law, has been harmonized with EU Law in the process of EU accession. The EU's Television Without Frontiers Directive has been transposed in Croatia within the Law on Electronic Media and the Law on Media; the provisions of the 2007 EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive have been included in the 2009 amendments to the Law on Electronic Media, including licenses for specialised media channels and non-for-profit municipal televisions and radio stations.[2]

The Croatian Criminal Code and Civil Code contain the provisions about defamation and libel. The burden of proof about libel has been shiften on the prosecutor since 2005. Decriminalisation is under discussion.[citation needed] In 2005, four journalists were convicted to suspended prison sentences for libel; prison sentences for libel were then abolished in 2006.[2]

The right to obtain corrections for all those whose rights or interests have been violated by information is enshrined in the Media Law; liability is upon editors-in-chief. In case of lack of correction, civil proceedings can be started.[2]

Regulatory authorities[edit]

The Council for Electronic Media releases the broadcasting licenses, according to the Electronic Media Law; any change in ownership structure must be reported by publishers to the Council, as well as to the Agency for the Protection of Market Competition. The Council can issue warnings, file charges, make recommendations, and support self-regulation.[2]

Media concentration is prevented by the Media Law, establishing a 40% ceiling for ownership of general information dailies or weeklies. Cross-ownership of national electronic media is allowed by the Law on Electronic Media, if it does not trespass a 25% threshold at every territorial (region, county, city) level. Holders of national broadcasting licenses are prevented from owning newspapers with a daily circulation of above 3,000 copies, or more than 10% shares of a news agency, and viceversa. Radio and television licenses are mutually exclusive. Holders of national and regional licences are forbidden from owning more than 30% share in similar media or local dailies in the broadcasting area.[2]

The Croatian Parliament has a Committee for Information, ICT and Media, in which media issues are debated. The Committee takes part in legislative drafting about print and electronic media.[2]

The National Agency for Telecommunications of Croatia included a Telecommunications Users Council, to mediate out-of-court disputes between users and providers of telecommunications services. The Users Council also works as advsory body on consumers' rights protection. In 2009 the Agency disbanded the Users Council and directly took over its tasks.[2]

Accountability and self-regulation[edit]

The Croatian Journalists' Association has adopted a Code of Ethics. The Ethical Council of the association checks the compliance with the Code and inquires upon its violations, though it can only adopt public statements.[2]

The autonomy of journalists is to be guaranteed by individual media's bylaws, but as of 2010 only Jutarnji List has adopted a self-regulation about it.[2]

Television broadcasting[edit]

Main article: Television in Croatia

Television remains the predominant source of information for Croatian citizens. Virtually all households have a colour television set, while instead half of the population do not read newspapers or listen to the radio. Television also controls the widest share of the advertising market (77%, or 700 million euros, in 2009).[3]


The main regulatory body for broadcasting is the government's Electronic Media Agency through its Electronic Media Council (Vijeće za elektroničke medije or VEM), which is in charge of reviewing and granting all television and radio broadcast licenses and ensuring that programming is in line within the legal framework set in the Croatian Parliament's Electronic Media Act. This makes it the local equivalent of similar regulatory agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission in the United States.


HRT headquarters at Prisavlje in Zagreb

The principal television station in Croatia is HTV, the television branch of the Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT), which is entirely state-owned and a member of the European Broadcasting Union. It is required by law to promote the Croatian language and provide programming which caters to all social groups in the country, and is mainly funded by a compulsory license fee (collected in monthly installments from all citizens owning a TV set), covering 50% of its budget, with additional revenue coming from advertising (25% of the advertising market in 2009). HTV currently broadcasts four free-to-air channels available throughout the country (HTV1, HTV2, HTV3 and HTV4 ).

HTV channels trace their roots to RTV Zagreb which was established in 1956 as a regional division of Yugoslavia's national broadcaster JRT. Their second channel was launched in 1972 and following the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1990 RTV Zagreb was renamed HTV. Conversely, the channels became HTV1 and HTV2, with HTV3 added in 1994. Although a small number of local stations began operating in the 1980s, HTV had a monopoly on national broadcasting until 2000 - until when it was also under strict political control by the government.

That year HTV3 was shut down and its frequency was taken by the privately owned Nova TV which had won the first public tender for a national-level 10-year broadcast license in 1999.[4] In 2003 a tender for the fourth national channel was offered, and was won by RTL Televizija, the Croatian subsidiary of the Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group, which came on air in 2004. After competing in the 2003 tender and losing to RTL, the media company Central European Media Enterprises bought Nova TV in August 2004 for 24 million.[4][5] In April 2010 Nova TV's license was renewed for another 15 years.[5]

In addition, in September 2010 the Electronic Media Council granted two new 15-year broadcast licenses in a tender for specialised nationally aired channels, won by Nova TV and RTL. The two new channels (Doma TV and RTL2) are expected to launch by Christmas 2010, and licenses alone will cost them HRK 450,000 (circa 60,000) per year.[6]

Public and commercial TV channels have converged lately: the lighter approach of commercial channels (with movies, soap operas, games and entertainment) has been increasingly matched by state-owned channels, while commercial channels themselves have improved their news and information programmes, denting the HTV earlier monopoly. Advertisers have also increasingly shifted towards commercial channels.[3]

Apart from the nationally aired channels, there is a number (around 20) of regional and local television stations which lease county-level licenses. Although they are all privately owned, they are also in part state-funded as the Electronic Media Act stipulates that a percentage of HRT license fees collected from citizens must be invested into the development of local media outlets through Electronic Media Agency's Fund for Promoting Pluralism and Diversification of Electronic Media (Fond za poticanje pluralizma i raznovrsnosti elektroničkih medija). In 2009, the fund granted a total of HRK 31.4 million (4.3 million) or 3 percent of license fees collected, to 21 local TV channels and 147 radio stations.[7] In 2010 the largest individual grant among television stations was received by VTV, a local channel based in Varaždin (HRK 1.1 million), while Radio Istra, a local station covering Istria, was the largest radio recipient with HRK 182,000.[7]

Local stations with the biggest viewership and budgets are generally the ones based in large and medium-sized cities, such as OTV and Z1 stations in Zagreb, STV and TV Jadran in Split, ČKTV in Čakovec, RiTV in Rijeka, etc.

Cable television[edit]

Cable television (CATV) is also a popular method of programming delivery in Croatia, and is available in several large cities throughout the country. The biggest cable provider is, established in 2007, which is available in Osijek, Rijeka, Solin, Split, Velika Gorica, Zadar and Zagreb. As of 2010 some 250,000 households are subscribed to's cable packages.[8] Internet protocol television (IPTV) is also gaining ground in recent years, with most ISPs offering a wide selection of channels very similar to cable packages.

A basic cable or IPTV package in Croatia traditionally includes:

  • major Croatian channels (HTV1, HTV2, HTV3, HTV4, Nova TV and RTL)
  • a mix of major networks from neighbouring countries (Bosnian OBN, FTV and Hayat, Serbian RTS SAT, Slovenian SLO1 and SLO2, Italian Rai 1 and Rai 2, Austrian ORF1 and ORF2)
  • a selection of local TV stations (OTV, Z1, ČKTV, STV, TV Jadran, etc.)

Digital conversion[edit]

Analogue terrestrial television was switched off in Croatia on 5 October 2010 for national TV stations, although some local stations still broadcast analogue signal. HRT first started transmitting in digital programming in 1997 (in DVB-S) and has since entirely switched its TV channels (HTV1, HTV2, HTV3 and HTV4), and three radio stations (HR1, HR2 and HR3) to digital format. The DVB-T format was first introduced in early 2002. The nine nationally broadcast free-to-air channels (HTV1, HTV2,HTV3, HTV4, RTL, Nova TV...) were carried via a network of nine main transmitters built by the state-owned company Transmitters and Communications Ltd (Odašiljači i veze or OiV; formerly a branch of HRT), completed in 2007 and covering about 70 percent of the country. The analogue switch-off process took place gradually region by region during 2010, starting with Istria and Rijeka in January and ending with Zagreb on 5 October 2010 when the entire country was converted to the DVB-T digital format.

Radio broadcasting[edit]

Croatia is served by a large number of radio stations (around 150), with eight channels being broadcast on a national level. Four of these are operated by HRT (HR1, HR2, HR3 and Glas Hrvatske), in addition to two religious channels (the Croatian Catholic Radio (Hrvatski katolički radio, HKR) and Radio Marija) and two for-profit privately owned stations (Otvoreni Radio and Narodni Radio, the second only broadcasting music in Croatian language). Antena Zagreb, relaunched in 2008 from the capital, soon reached a wide audience.[9]

While state-owned radio stations focus on news, politics, classical music and arts, private radios followed the model of maximising music air time, mixed with short news on the hour. 40% of radio stations are deemed under state ownership, particularly local and municipal ones that receive funds from local budgets. Radio reporting has improved after the syndication of news broadcasts by Radio Mreža (Radio Network), a NGO providing free-of-charge news services for smaller radio stations.[9]

Print media[edit]

The Vjesnik building in Zagreb

There are several major daily newspapers in Croatia, including Jutarnji list, Večernji list, Slobodna Dalmacija, and Novi list.

  • The tabloid 24 sata occupies the leading position in the daily market, soon since having been launched in 2005 by the Austrian publisher Styria. 24 Sata aimed for the youth market, with short stories and abundant photographs, being also sold at a lower price than its competitors.[10]
  • Jutarnji List and Večernji List counted upon 16% of market share each (2005), before the arrival of 24 Sata. In 2009, they had an estimated volume of 100,000 copies sold per day.
  • Jutarnji List started in 1997, published by Europapress Holding (EPH), who one year later sold 50% to WAZ. EPH remains the main published on the Croatian market, with two daily newspapers, weeklies Globus and Arena and Croatian editions of Playboy and Cosmopolitan.
  • Večernji List, once the leading state-owned daily, was bought by the Austrian publisher Styria Media Group in 2000. It maintained the traditional A3 format but adapted to a more tabloid-style layout.
  • Slobodna Dalmacija is the fourth best-selling national newspaper, owing to its strong dominance (more than 50% of readers) in the Dalmatian region.
  • Novi List, another regional-based daily, dominates in Rijeka and scores a 5% overall readership.
  • Vjesnik used to be the leading newspaper in Yugoslav Croatia for six decades. As a state-owned company, it used to publish all national newspapers. Today it remains on the market, though with a very limited readership (1%, 5,000 copies in 2009).[10]

In addition to these there are several regional dailies which are available throughout the country even though they mainly present regionally focused content. Examples of these are Glas Istre, Glas Slavonije, Zadarski list, Dubrovački vjesnik, etc.

There are also several specialized dailies. Sportske novosti and SportPlus provide sports coverage, while and Poslovni dnevnik cover financial and business-related topics.

The most popular weekly news magazine is Globus. The Archdiocese of Zagreb also publishes Glas Koncila, a weekly magazine dedicated to presenting a Catholic perspective on current events and widely distributed in churches. Vijenac and Zarez are the two most influential bi-weekly magazines covering arts and culture. In addition, there is a wide selection of Croatian editions of international monthlies, such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Grazia, Men's Health, National Geographic, GEO, Le Monde diplomatique, Playboy, Reader's Digest and Forbes.

No realiable numbers about print media circulation are available; the law mandates for it but foresees no penalty for inaction. In the Chamber of Commerce, based on quantities of newsprint used in the production of print media, estimated 420,000 copies of dailies on an average day, in decline (-25%) from 2007.[10]

Press outlets in Croatia fights for a small advertising market, thus following a trend towards more tabloid-like media. Commercial pressure discourages investigative reporting, in favour of full-colour layout filled with photographs and ads, and submits media outlets to pressure from advertisers and their business interests, with concerns about self-censorship.[10] Public reputation of press journalists is low: a 2008 survey found 54% of respondents considering journalists to be influenced by political or economic interests.[10]

Threats against journalists persist. In May 2015, the head the Croatian Association of Journalists, Saša Leković, received a death threat by mail postage, after several attacks on social media.[11] The same month, Karlovac-based investigative journalist Željko Peratović (winner of the 2014 Croatian Journalists Association award for investigative journalism) was physically attacked at his home and hospitalized with head injuries. Three suspects are investigated. The OSCE Media Freedom representative has condemned the events.[12] In July 2015, the graphic designer of Hrvatski Tjednik was physically assaulted by two men who tried to choke him on a wire and threatened him with a gun to his head within the newspapers' premises in Zadar. The assault led to destruction of the newspapers' premises. The HND head Lekovic decried the event as an attack on the freedom of expression.[13]

Cases of political pressures, censorship and self-censorship are still reported in Croatia. In October 2015, the president of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), Davor Suker, banned the representatives of from a press conference in Zagreb, confiscating one of their mobile phones. had already been banned from HNS sport and press events, since the Federation was not pleased with the media reporting on the appointment of Ante Cacic as coach. The HND condemned the behaviour and reiterated the call to lift the ban on professionals.[14] In October 2015, two op-eds by Damir Pilic, long-time columnist of Slobodna Dalmacija, were dismissed by the editorial board, possibly because of inconsistency with the editorial line of the newspaper, increasingly leaning towards the right in the contest of the upcoming general elections. The op-eds concerned the internal politics of the HDZ party, and Europe's influence on the USA/Russia disputes.[15]



Croatian cinema had big successes during Socialist Yugoslavia. After enduring hardship in the 1990s, cinema came back in the 2000s. Croatian cinema produced 6 to 9 feature movies each year, presented at festivals such as the Motovun Film Festival, Zagreb Film Festival and Pula Film Festival, as well as the ZagrebDox festival of documentaries.[3]

The Croatian Audiovisual Centre was established in 2008 as the strategic public agency for the audiovisual sector, tasked with professional training and the financing the financing of production, distribution and promotion of audiovisual works.[3]

Internet and digital media[edit]

Main article: Internet in Croatia

The Internet country code top-level domain for Croatia is .hr and is administered by CARNet (Croatian Academic and Research Network). Registrants are classified into a number of different groups with varying rules of domain registrations. Some verifiable form of connection to Croatia - such as being a Croatian citizen or a permanent resident, or a company registered in the country - is common to all of the categories except for the subdomain. Third level domains ( are allowed to be registered by anyone in the world as long as they provide a local contact. As of 2009, half of Croatian households had access to internet, and 40% to broadband.[3]

As of September 2011 the most visited .hr websites are the Croatian version of Google followed by news websites and and online editions of printed dailies Jutarnji list and 24sata.[16]

The Croatian Wikipedia (Croatian: Wikipedija na hrvatskom jeziku) is the Croatian version of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, started on February 16, 2003. In late 2013, Croatian Wikipedia received attention from international media for promoting fascist, right-wing worldview as well as bias against Serbs of Croatia and anti-LGBT propaganda by the means of historical revisionism and by negating or diluting the severity of crimes committed by the Ustaše regime (see Croatian Wikipedia).[1][17][18] As of December 2014, this version has more than 150,000 articles, making it the 40th largest edition of Wikipedia.

Media organisations[edit]

News agencies[edit]

The Croatian state still owns the main news agency, HINA (Hrvatska Izvještajna Novinska Agencija), founded in 1991 and providing 300 news items daily to all media in the country. Other agencies are IKA (Informative Catholic Agency, owned by the Croatian Episcopal Conference) and STINA, a regional private agency, specialized in diversity and minority reporting.[3]

Several international news agencies operate in Croatia, including Associated Press (AP), Agence France Press (AFP) and Reuters.[3]

Radijska Mreža, an independent radio news agency, broadcasts news daily and free-of-charge for regional radio stations.[3]

Trade unions[edit]

The building in Zagreb where the HND is located is called Novinarski dom, lit. "Journalists' home".

The Hrvatsko novinarsko društvo (HND), or Croatian Journalists' Association, associates nearly all Croatian journalists (more than 3,000, of whose 60% in Zagreb). Founded in 1910, as one of the oldest professional associations in Croatia, it adhered in 1992 to the International Federation of Journalists. The HND works together with the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists to protect journalists' labour and social rights.[3]

The Hrvatska udruga radija i novina (HURIN), or Croatian Association of Radio Stations and Newspapers, gathers 140 radio stations and 30 regional newspapers. The 16 largest publishers are members of the Udruga novinskih izdavača (Association of Newspaper Publishers), itself part of Croatian Employers' Association. Together with HURIN it covers about 80 percent of employees in Croatian media.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sampson, Tim (October 1, 2013). "How pro-fascist ideologues are rewriting Croatia's history". Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Nada Buric, Croatia #National Media Policies, EJC Media Landscapes (no date, 2009/2010)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Nada Buric, Croatia, EJC Media Landscapes (no date)
  4. ^ a b Vejnović, Saša (1 June 2009). "Komercijalne televizije mogle bi izgubiti postojeće programske koncesije". Poslovni dnevnik (in Croatian). Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Novoj TV koncesija za još 15 godina". (in Croatian). 14 April 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  6. ^ Matijević, Božena (13 September 2010). "Ramljak: RTL i Nova TV dobili su kanale za reciklažu već viđenog". Večernji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Poticanje pluralizma: 31,4 milijuna kuna radio i TV postajama". (in Croatian) (Nova TV). 19 July 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "" (in Croatian). Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Nada Buric, Croatia #Radio, EJC Media Landscapes (no date)
  10. ^ a b c d e Nada Buric, Croatia #Print Media, EJC Media Landscapes (no data)
  11. ^ Croatia: Head of journalist union threatened, Mapping Media Freedom, 29 May 2015
  12. ^ OSCE Representative condemns attacks and threats against journalists in Croatia, welcomes quick arrests, OSCE FOM Press Release, 29 May 2015
  13. ^ N1 Info, Vijesti, HND, Croatia: Armed assailants storm Hrvatski Tjednik offices, injuring graphic designer, Mapping Media Freedom, 13 July 2015
  14. ^ HND, 24 Sata,, Croatia: President of Croatian football federation bans journalists from press conference, takes mobile phone, Mapping Media Freedom, 1 October 2015
  15. ^,, Mapping Media Freedom
  16. ^ "Top Sites in Croatia". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  17. ^ "Fascist movement takes over Croatian Wikipedia?". InSerbia News. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  18. ^ Trolls hijack Wikipedia to turn articles against gays, Gay Star News

External links[edit]