Local TV Stations Temporarily Suspended over Anti-Migrant Hate Speech

By 26 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 26, 2018 - The Electronic Media Council on Monday decided to temporarily suspend broadcasting licenses for television stations that aired the Bujica political talk show on November 5 in which anti-migrant hate speech could be heard.

The broadcasting licences will be suspended on December 3.

Z1, the Slavonia-Baranja TV station and the Osijek TV station will lose their broadcasting rights for 24 hours, while SRCE TV, Adriatic TV and TV Jadran will be off air for 4 hours.

After analysing the content of the talk show, which dealt with the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the Electronic Media Council decided that claims made in the show, hosted by Velimir Bujanec, constituted hate speech because they described migrants as terrorists and criminals and as people who intentionally spread infectious diseases.

The show's guests were Frano Ćirko, who was introduced as the leader of an organisation called Generacija Obnove, and Zoran Grgić, introduced as an independent analyst.

"The show host did not distance himself from such hate-mongering rhetoric, except for describing it as 'a bit radical', which cannot be considered an appropriate warning that such rhetoric is not allowed... the host himself set the tone of the discussion and incited hate-mongering, discriminatory and humiliating rhetoric against migrants," the Council said.

Its chair Josip Popovac stressed that the Council's decision in no way violated the freedom of speech, noting that there were no forbidden topics but that they should be dealt with professionally, which was not the case with the show in question.

Speaking of the accountability of the guests on the said show, Popovac said that he agreed with the proposal to report the case to the Chief State Prosecutor, noting that "such abuse of public media is unacceptable".

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