Writers and Journalists Demand Freedom of Expression

By 9 January 2019

ZAGREB, January 9, 2019 - The Croatian Writers’ Society (HDP) and the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Wednesday expressed solidarity with the journalists and media found guilty in court "for doing their job" and asked the Culture Ministry to change media regulations so as to protect the freedom of expression and writers' independence.

"A state in which sentences are delivered against journalists who stated true facts about a politician is not a democracy in the full sense of the word," they said in a joint press release, adding that a state in which it is usual to seek enormous damages from journalists in the name of alleged emotional distress is not a state with a bright future.

Sentences against a journalist for true reporting and a web portal for satirical articles as well as the huge number of lawsuits, often filed by politicians and public figures seeking high damages, "are happening to us, here and now," the press release said. "As writers, authors of possibly 'contentious' texts, as associates and readers of 'contentious' media, we don't agree to such a bastard democracy and social regression."

The HDP and the HND asked the government and the Culture Ministry, as the most responsible for media legislation, "to protect the freedom of expression and writers' independence." They appealed for changing media regulations and regulating relations in the media in a way that will enable pluralism of opinion, root out censorship and reduce pressure on journalists and other authors.

They also asked politicians to show by example how one encourages social dialogue and accepts a critical opinion instead of filing lawsuits.

More news on the media in Croatia can be found in our Politics section.