Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Reporters without Borders (RSF): Press Freedom Deteriorates in World While Croatia Sees Progress

ZAGREB, 20 April, 2021 - The Reporters without Borders (RSF) association has reported that the pandemic has led to a dramatic deterioration of media freedom worldwide, while its latest index shows that the situation has improved in Croatia.

Croatia ranks 56th out of 180 countries on the organisation’s annual Press Freedom Index, moving up three notches after ranking 59th in the previous report.

The organisation's latest report, released on Tuesday, reads that "Croatian journalists who investigate corruption, organised crime or war crimes are often subjected to harassment campaigns."

"Defamation is criminalised and insulting 'the Republic, its emblem, its national hymn or flag' is punishable by up to three years in prison. Worse still, 'humiliating' media content has been criminalised since 2013. Nonetheless, several courts ruled in favour of journalists during defamation trials in 2020. The government has not stopped meddling in the public TV broadcaster HRT, while HRT’s management continues to sue employees who have complained about this problem, and has gone so far as to bring a complaint against the Association of Croatian Journalists."

COVID-19 pandemic deepens financial crisis in media

"Meanwhile physical attacks, along with threats and cyber-violence, continue to be a major problem for journalists without any reaction from the authorities. The Covid-19 pandemic deepened the financial crisis in the media, leading many outlets to cut pay and stop using freelancers. The journalists’ union asked the government to intervene to help freelancers and some economic measures were taken in the summer of 2020 but not all media benefitted," reads the report's section about Croatia.

Deterioration worldwide 

The organisation warns that media freedoms have deteriorated considerably in Asia, in the Middle East and Europe, as shown by its index.

The index is based on a survey of Reporters Without Borders’ regional correspondents and takes into account issues such as the level of attacks on journalists, media independence, and transparency of government institutions.

The pandemic led to an increase in repression worldwide, according to RSF, which noted that media workers had been arrested for covering the outbreak in countries including China, Venezuela, Serbia and Kosovo.

Top 10 best countries for press freedom are as follows: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Jamaica, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.

On the other hand, the top worst countries are Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, China, Djibouti, Vietnam, Iran, Syria, Laos and Cuba.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Human Rights in Croatia 2020 Overview: Serbs, Roma People, and LGBTQ Hate Speech Targets

April 16, 2021-  The Human Rights in Croatia 2020 Overview report by Human rights house Zagreb shows hate speech and poor living conditions of Serb returnees and Roma people still being problematic. The judicial system and the lack of a legal frame for civil society development remain problematic too.

In a battle against the Coronavirus, many agree and fear that human rights were put in second place, triggering the debate of security vs. liberty and justification of limiting movement, work, etc.

But human rights and their respect in Croatia was an issue, long before Covid-19. As Jutarnji List warns, the situation is not good. 

Croatia doesn't have a defined politics of making a supportive environment for the civic society development. Citizen participation in decision making is still relatively weak and the judicial system is a special problem," says Jutarnji List referring to the new report by Human Rights House in Zagreb titled „Human Rights in Croatia: 2020 Overview“.

Regarding the judicial issue, a specific example can be found in the ever-controversial  "Za Dom Spremni!"(For the Homeland Ready) salute which is recognised as a fascist salute and punishable by law but it's tolerated as part of the song „Čavoglave“ by Marko Perković Thompson and can frequently be heard during his concerts both by the singer and the audience.

„Circumstance that the salute is part of the song doesn't change the fact that it's an ustasha (Croatian fascist) salute that symbolizes criminal Naci-fascist ideology and is the violation of article 39 of Croatian constitution that prohibits any call or encouragement on national, racial or religious hatred or any form of intolerance“, continues Jutarnji List.

Still present in public space, hate speech in Croatia is also very alive on the Internet, with the Serb LGBTQ community and Roma people being the prime targets. As Jutarnji reports, last year's research show this as well as the lack of appropriate response. 

„Children and adolescences do not learn enough about human rights, equality, and solidarity, given that civil education is conducted as one of six intercourse themes in elementary and high-schools. Such approach to civil education does not secure enough time in the curriculum for quality development of civil competence of pupils“, concluded for Jutarnji List Human Rights House in Zagreb.

Educational segregation for Roma people, isolated Serb returnees migrant treatment controversies, C+ grade for LGBTQ travelers

The article also adds that Roma people in Croatia are still facing many obstacles in achieving their rights, which include employment, access to services, and adequate living standards, and there is still segregation in the education system too.

Furthermore, many Serb returnees live in undeveloped rural areas, which are isolated and offer poor living conditions. Additionally, they still struggle to achieve their asset rights, and their possession is still tangible to devastation.

lgbtq.jpg

Pixabay

When it comes to LGBTQ rights, as TCN previously reported, Croatia „has an index of 188 points and a grade C+ from most safe to highest dangerous places (A to F), placing it among the first third of the best countries in the world in terms of LGBTQ+ safety“. There are controversies regarding the migrants' treatment on which we recently reported on too.

Learn more about Croatia's global rankings and many more fun facts about the country on our TC page.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Page 2 of 2

Search