Igor Skoko: We will Demand Legal Changes to Make it Impossible to Intimidate Journalists

By 12 April 2021

April the 12th, 2021 - Igor Skoko has come out against the Croatian National Tourist Board's lawsuits against journalist Paul Bradbury, demanding that they be withdrawn, as Dalmatinski portal writes.

''We're shocked by the bizarre news of the Croatian Tourist Board's lawsuits launched against Paul Bradbury, a journalist and the owner of the Total Croatia News portal. This represents a classic way of intimidating and stifling freedom of speech, in order to silence any criticism of the dysfunctional system of the Croatian National Tourist Board, which spends a lot of the taxpayers' money. We demand the immediate withdrawal of these lawsuits and the removal of director Kristjan Stanicic,'' said County Councillor Igor Skoko, adding that it is inadmissible for the Croatian National Tourist Board to spend the taxpayers' money and time silencing well-founded criticism, while the entire tourism sector has fear for the upcoming season, and companies that have somehow managed to survive the crisis are barely keeping their business alive.

''The Croatian National Tourist Board should see a partner in Paul Bradbury. He's a man who has undoubtedly indebted Croatian tourism with his actions, and instead they're trying to intimidate and destroy him. This is just another proof of the justification of our request for the introduction of voluntary membership in the Croatian National Tourist Boad,'' Igor Skoko believes.

As he explained, if the taxpayers were given the opportunity to choose who to finance, many would certainly prefer to invest their money in tourism promotion in the knowledge and work of experts like Bradbury, rather than in any of the 300 or so directors of the country's tourist boards.

''The Centre will always vehemently oppose any form of intimidation and attacks on journalists, activists and citizens. We consider any attempt to restrict freedom of speech, and we witness them almost every day in Croatia, it's unacceptable, and this week we will send legal changes to the procedure that would prevent such lawsuits from occurring at all,'' announced Skoko.

Freedom of speech, he said, is the cornerstone of any democratic society and the first line of defense of all other freedoms.

''In addition to believing that an open public debate on any topic has no alternative, history teaches us that persecuting and silencing dissidents makes the whole society intellectually, but also economically poorer. Only an open exchange of ideas, but also criticism, is the guarantor of intellectual and economic progress,'' concluded Igor Skoko.