A1: United Media is pressuring us, but we will not cave

N1 Zagreb

A1 service provider issued a press release on Wednesday, saying that the United Media had started a pressure campaign against A1 after the news broke that the provider would no longer broadcast their N1 and Sport Klub channels as of March 29. A1 said they cannot accept media blackmail and journalism that “over commercial interests of the owners is creating pressure through their own media outlet on any company over a legitimate business decision.”

In the latest press release, A1 said they had notified the public early this week that, as of late March, they would replace United Media channels with other, similar ones: Sport Klub will be replaced with Arena Sport. They added that after the news came out, United Media began publicly pressuring them, stressing that “N1 TV has decided to replace public interest with the interests of their owners, which was recognised by nearly all other media outlets in Croatia.”

The decision to replace some of the channels in their offer, including N1, was made solely due to unfavourable business conditions under which United Media had tried to ensure the contract renewal, A1 said.

“When negotiations on the price had fallen through, A1 Croatia made a business, commercial decision to replace these channels with other, similar ones. The response to this decision was a press release published by N1, as well as a series of TV reports that followed, all of which are attacking A1 Croatia for making a business decision,” they said.

They also commented on the accusations that their business decision was a “blow to freedom of the media, as well as censorship… coming in the middle of an election campaign,” saying that those accusations are proof of the outlet’s “lack of credibility and their propaganda journalism,” that they themselves are in fact the ones hurting the freedom of the media by using their own outlet to protect United Media’s business interests in Croatia as opposed to protecting public interest.

“We aren’t surprised to see this coming from United Media, which also owns N1, Sport Klub, Nova TV, Doma TV, and portal dnevnik.hr, as well as the telecom operator Telemach Croatia. Precisely because of methods like these, three operators in Slovenia had already shut down United Media channels, as well as operators in Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and so on. Considering we are still exposed to media attacks by N1, A1 Croatia will take all necessary legal steps,” the company said.

“In spite of the damage done so far, A1 is still interested in distributing N1, all in the best interest of our users. Regardless of the claims that N1 is prepared to offer its programme free of charge, A1 is ready to reach commercially acceptable conditions to keep N1 TV as part of its offer,” the company concluded.

(Operating in Croatia as part of United Group are the telecom operator Telemach Hrvatska, as well as television channels and websites Sport Klub and N1, Nova TV, Doma TV, and Dnevnik.hr.)