CROATIA: Death threats received by Croatian journalists

CROATIA, 21/12/2005

To:

Ivo Sanader

Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia

Ivica Kirin

Minister of Interior Affairs of the Republic of Croatia

Zagreb, Croatia  

Your Excellencies,

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is alarmed about  recent death threats received by Croatian journalists.

According to information before SEEMO, on 12 December, after the Croatian Radio Television (HRT)'s edition of the popular political show "Latinica", titled "Tudjman's Legacy", the editor of the show, Denis Latin, together with his staff members, started receiving numerous death threats. During the show, guests discussed the late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman and his role, as well as his legacy.

SEEMO has also been informed that Zrinka Vrabec-Mojzes, editor at Radio 101 from Zagreb, who herself was a guest in the same show, has also started  receiving death threats, as well as other editors and journalists working for the radio station.

SEEMO would like to emphasise that open discussions and critical views are a part of every democratic society and are especially important for nascent democracies. Therefore, it is extremely alarming that a TV show could cause such reactions, including a call by certain individuals to lynch journalists in Croatia. SEEMO is extremely worried about several Croatian members of the Parliament, who may have started this campaign and who, by doing so, have violated the laws on freedom of expression.

SEEMO asks Your Excellencies to do everything in your power to protect the lives of threatened journalists, as also to secure the independence of the Croatian Radio Television (HRT). We would also like to remind Your Excellencies that a safe working environment for journalists is a

fundamental principle of any democratic.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic

SEEMO Secretary General

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