European Federation of Journalists

Croatia: Freedom of speech and rights of minorities under attack

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) backs its Croatian affiliate, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), in denouncing the attack against freedom of speech and the rights of ethnic minorities in Croatia.

On February 13, the nongovernmental organisation “In the Name of the Family” (U ime obitelji) held a press conference asking for disqualifying the weekly magazine Novosti published by the Serb National Council. On the same day, it sent to the government a document titled “Report on the Abuse of State Budget Funds for the Serbian National Minority”, in which it calls for the criminal prosecution of Novosti’s journalists, editors and publishers. The organisation is accusing Novosti of “insult(ing) the Republic of Croatia and spread(ing) hatred and intolerance towards the majority Croatian people”, and therefore request the banning of financial support coming from the State budget.

In a statement, Novosti considers that “these actions constitute a dangerous and orchestrated campaign of nationalism and xenophobia aimed at marking the journalists of Novosti as enemies of the state”. According to them, this attack takes place in the context of a wider nationalist offensive against the independent media, civil society and cultural institutions.

The Croatian Journalists’ Association condemned in a press release the action of “In the Name of the Family” intended to spread hatred against ethnic and other minority groups. The CJA and the EFJ call on Croatian political leaders to clearly condemn the attack and authorities to react in actual cases of spreading of hate.