Following recommendations after the screening process for the Chapter on Information Society and the Media, the government prepared the proposal for the Law on Electronic Media in 2009 in order to bring Croatian media legislation into line with the acquis communautaire. The Law on Electronic Media was adopted in December 2009 in order to respect the deadline set by the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The Law on Electronic Media (2009, amended 2011 and in 2013) followed the main principles outlined in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive regarding the amount of Croatian and European audio-visual works as well as the amount of programmes produced by independent producers. It regulates commercial television and radio broadcasting and its provisions regarding content also apply to the public service broadcaster, HRT (Croatian Radio-Television), which is regulated by the Law on Croatian Radio-Television adopted in 2010, amended in 2012 and 2017. The adopted changes related to the organisation (management structure and Programme council), functioning (programming and contents) and financing of the Croatian Radio Television. The Law on Electronic Media also defines the basic criteria and procedures for awarding licenses. In 2020 the new Law on Electronic Media was put in the process of legal adoption. As announced by the Ministry, in addition to adapting certain provisions relating to EU directives, the Law should introduce more transparency in media ownership, should more precisely regulate publishers’ obligations, and better protect competition and regulate issues specific to video-sharing, on demand platforms and electronic publications.
The Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) is managed by the Council for Electronic Media (VEM), an independent regulatory body that awards licences to radio and television broadcasters, and it deals with registration of online portals (electronic publications) and funding for them. The Fund for the Promotion of Diversity and Pluralism of Electronic Media created by the new Law on Electronic Media obliges the HRT (Croatian Radio-Television) to contribute 3% of revenues generated from licence fees to the Fund. This support goes to the promotion of the production and broadcasting of electronic media content of public interest on local and regional levels, which is important for the right of citizens to public information, the rights of national minorities, promotion of cultural creativity, and development of education, science and art.
The Law on Audiovisual Activities (adopted in 2007, amended in 2011) regulated the performing, organising and funding of audiovisual activities as fundamental components of contemporary culture. It established a public institution – Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) – which is responsible for the production, financing, promotion and distribution of audiovisual activities. The Law also introduced a new system for financing audiovisual activities, where funds are secured from the state budget as well as from the percentage of annual gross income gained from the performing of audiovisual activities by Croatian TV, television broadcasters at the national and regional level, as well as cable service providers and operators in fixed and mobile telecommunication networks and Internet service providers. The 2011 amendments were specifically designed to introduce financial incentives in the form of a 20% cash rebate for production costs incurred in Croatia for feature films, documentaries, animation and TV drama. These amendments marked a first step towards realisation of strategic goals outlined in the four-year National Programme for the Development of Audiovisual Activities (2010-2014), adopted by the Audiovisual Council of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and approved by the Ministry of Culture in October 2010. In October 2012, the representatives of HAVC presented the results of the first two years of the implementation of the Strategic Programme, and outlined the positive changes in four of five strategic goals – positive changes in audiovisual legislation, increased number of films produced, increased number of viewers of Croatian films, and an increase in digitalisation of independent cinemas and audiovisual (heritage) content. The new National Programme for the Development of Audiovisual Activities (2017-2021) was adopted in 2017.
In 2018 the Law on Audiovisual Activities was adopted, which introduced selected changes in procedures related to potential conflict of interest and introducing video games within the remit of the Law and HAVC as the centre. Following the Law, the changes to the Book of Regulations of the Film Production Incentive Programme for investment in audio-visual production in Croatia was put into force. The changes in the cash rebate system for foreign film productions increased the cash rebate system from 20% to 25% of production costs incurred in Croatia and an additional 5% to those that are filming in regions with below average development, that is, in Areas of Special State Concern (Područja posebne državne skrbi-PPDS).
Croatia signed a Memorandum on the MEDIA 2007 programme (2007-2013) which was ratified in March 2008 by the Croatian Parliament. A Media Desk was set-up within the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, which is now Creative Europe Desk – MEDIA sub-programme (see chapter 3.5.3).
Croatia is a member of Eurimages since 2003, is a signatory of the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production (2004) and is a signatory of the European Convention for the Protection of Audiovisual Heritage (2007) (see chapter 4.2.1). Since 2009 HAVC is a member of European Film Promotion (EFP), where it actively contributes to EFP initiatives and programmes; in 2013 a number of Croatian professionals participated in several EFP programmes. In September 2014 during the Venice Film Festival an agreement on co-productions was signed between representatives of audiovisual centres from Slovenia, Croatia, and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. The RE-ACT (Regional Audiovisual Cooperation and Training) initiative aims to structure the current cooperation between these three funds on a formal level, and to develop film education and networking between these regions.
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