|Is media ownership transparent?|
According to amendments to the Media Law (2011) and the Electronic Media Law (2012), it is possible to finds out who owns print, broadcast and online media in Croatia through information reported to: the relevant media authorities; directly to the public; or to corporate /trade registers. Through the various laws media must disclose enough information for their real owners to be identified right back to the individual, not just to a company. This includes information on the all shareholdings over 1%, disclosure of beneficial owners and those with indirect interests and control and a bans on “secret” ownership.
Despite some well-defined provisions, the speed with which the amendments to the Media Act and Electronic Media Act were passed and the lack of consultation has resulted in serious omissions in the monitoring and enforcement side to the law. For example:
- Media companies do not always publish information on indirect ownership yet there is no institution authorised by the Media Act to monitor compliance and to apply sanctions.
- The obligation to report ownership rests with the media outlet itself yet the media outlet cannot be certain that a person formally entered into its company shareholder register is the actual shareholder.
- The supervisory body, the Croatian Chamber of Economy (CCE), is not provided with sufficient resources adequately to monitor compliance or check information.
The amendments have had little impact on the ownership structure of Croatian media thus far since most of the privatisation processes, many of which were reported to be suspicious or controversial, were completed before 2011. In the absence of an effective enforcement mechanism, there have been no legal proceedings and the questionable ownership structures remain.
|Law||Media covered by law|
|Media Act, May 2004, as amended July 2011||Print, broadcast & online media|
|Electronic Media Act, December 2009, as amended June 2012||Broadcast & online media|
|Companies Act, November 1993; Court Register Act, January 1995Capital Market Act, July 2008||Print, broadcast & online media|
Official web page of the Electronic Media Agency http://www.e-mediji.hr/
Access Info – Croatia media ownership law and practice research questionnaire: www.access-info.org/wp-content/uploads/tmo_croatia_17july2013.doc