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Media Policy and the Public Broadcasting Services in Croatia

Publication Date
  • Civilno Društvo
  • Medijska Politika
  • Javni Mediji
  • Hrvatska
  • Civil Society
  • Media Policy
  • Public Broadcasting Service
  • Croatia
  • Communication
  • Computer Science
  • Design


The present article reviews the Croatian media policy before the most recent Law on Telecommunications and the Media Act. Croatia, like other countries, has its own history and strategy of public media development. Using the examples of the Croatian News Agency (HINA), and the Croatian Radio and Television (HRT), the author examines the similarities between Croatia’s media policy and that of other countries in transition. The common characteristic of all these countries is the lack of tradition in the public media, because the media in a single party system were controlled by the state, and the establishment of the public media has proved a challenge for both civil society and politicians. However, since there is no single definition of the public media, there is no single rule on their structuring. The present direction of Croatia’s media policy is positive, marking a departure from the normative model of renationalization (Splichal, 2000) and a move towards a model that will develop a modern identity of the public media on Croatia’s media scene. The transformation into public media is slow and is the product of a delicate balancing act between the law on one side and the programming, marketing, and organizational requirements imposed by the new media market on the other. It is to a much smaller extent the product of a deliberate orientation towards modern programming challenges brought about by new technologies. It is not yet clear what route the Croatian media policy and the public media will take, but this is a situation not unlike that which could be observed in other countries in transition before the domestic public television was exposed to national competition and the injection of foreign capital (Jakobowicz, 2001). The pluralistic media system as an alternative to media concentration, monopoly, and oligopoly, can be designed only through a proper regulation of the public and commercial systems.

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