Croatia’s Cable TV Provider Condemned for Taking N1 Off Air

News that the Croatian branch of N1 TV could go off air within days has angered viewers, media unions and democracy watchdogs - especially as screens will go blank at a politically sensitive time, in the run-up to local elections.

"12 days until shutdown on A1," TV screens of the Croatian branch of the television station, which is CNN's news channel affiliate in the region, read on Wednesday.

N1 started counting the days when viewers using the services of the A1 cable television provider in Croatia can watch N1 and Sport Klub - produced by United Media company - after the two companies failed to reach an agreement on extending cooperation.

United Group is the biggest alternative telecommunications provider in the region, mainly operating in telecommunications platforms and the media.

Some angry users of the A1 TV platform have announced that they are cancelling their contracts. "Let's say it's a good time to cancel the contract and look for another operator. So long A1," one Twitter user posted on Tuesday.

The Croatian Journalists Association, the Croatian Journalists Union and the democracy watchdog GONG have all voiced deep disappointment, raising concerns that taking N1 TV off air is especially damaging in the run-up to the May local elections.

GONG said that N1 "offers real-time reporting covering all the important events, and their cameras are always where something important is happening".

It added that N1 "has de facto taken over the role of a public service in terms of news programming", and that since the local election campaign has already begun, shutting it down now "represents a form of pressure and silencing of a media that ask questions, analyses, and works in the public interest".

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