An amended version of the Law on Croatian Radio and Television will improve the management structure but is criticised for lack of independence.
In 2012, a new PBS TV channel is devoted to cultural, artistic, TV archive, documentary and movie programmes.
4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity
There has been much debate about media legislation, media pluralism and diversity in Croatia during the past ten years. This reflects a radical transformation of media and media policies. As a consequence, media laws have been changed and amended several times.
Diversity and plurality of the media are particularly promoted by the Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity of Electronic Media, established by the Law on Electronic Media provisions that have included the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS Directive) solutions. The fund is administered by the Council for Electronic Media (VEM), and financed by 3% of Croatian Radio-Television licence fees. It supports broadcasters at local and regional levels who serve local communities and sometimes introduce the usage of local dialects in broadcasting (e.g., in the Istria region). A substantial interest in promoting and supporting diversity and plurality in the media also comes from the market, which has already influenced growth and diversification of the media and media programmes.
Even though Croatian legislation includes regulations on quotas and responsibility of broadcasters and media owners with regard to the diversity of contents, systematic monitoring is restricted and therefore it is impossible to assess the extent to which the provisions of different laws are respected.
The number of media organisations in Croatia fluctuates constantly. According to data available on the website of the Electronic Media Agency (AEM), in 2012 there are 32 TV channels (ten with national concessions, three of them publicly owned), 167 radio stations (six with national concessions), six media-on-demand service providers, and 94 currently registered electronic publications (portals). According to the data of the Croatian Post and Electronic Communications Agency (HAKOM) there were 66 Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in Croatia in 2011.
Croatia has successfully concluded the process of digital switchover which created space for the Council for Electronic Media to publish tenders for new licences. In September 2010 several national concessions were awarded for specialised television channels – music channel, sports channel, financial news channel and two specialised entertainment channels owned by Nova TV and RTL.
Media production in the arts, humanities, cultural history and identity is mostly broadcast on the PBS Croatian Television First Channel and Croatian Radio Third Programme (the latter completely devoted to culture). In September 2012, the PBS opened a new television channel (HRT3) devoted to cultural, artistic, TV archive, documentary and movie programmes. The HRT1 channel has also complemented its news broadcasting by devoting 3-5 minutes to cultural information. Culture has a constant share of 4% in the total radio broadcasting. While daily press covers cultural life and social / political events, a number of specialised bi-monthly magazines (e.g. Zarez, Vijenac) write extensively about art and culture. The best known specialised journals in cultural field are Kontura (visual arts), Frakcija (performing arts), ÄŒiP, Oris (architecture), Most-TheBridge (literature), Europski glasnik-European Herald (culture and sciences), Hrvatski filmski ljetopis-Croatian Film Chronicles (film), etc. In June 2011, the Ministry of Culture supported the publication of 92 programmes of local, regional or national (printed and online) cultural journals.
Anti-trust measures were included in the Law on Electronic Media (2003) and further elaborated in the new Law on Electronic Media that was passed in December 2009, as well as in general Anti-trust Laws. The question of anti-trust measures has been greatly discussed in the context of the process of joining the EU, prompted by requests to harmonise legislation with European standards. In 2011, debates concentrated around the amendments to the Law on Media and the Law on Electronic Media, which included changes regarding transparency of ownership. An amended version of the Law on Croatian Radio Television was passed in July 2012 (NN 76/12) that will simplify and improve the management structure even though this Law was criticised for a serious democratic deficit in terms of the independence of the PSB from the government.
There are specific training programmes for journalists that are organised by the Association of Journalists. There are 7 journalism regular study programmes at Croatian universities.
Together with the discussions on the role of the Public Broadcasting Service triggered by the above-mentioned changes of the law, the debates in 2011 and 2012 included discussions on the position of journalists (in print and electronic media), the quality of broadcast content in public and commercial media, and issue of financing non-profit (electronic) media.