CROATIA: SEEMO Condemns Political, Police Pressure on Investigative Journalists in Croatia

CROATIA, 16/09/2011

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute, condemns political and police pressure on investigative journalists who have revealed alleged illegal financing of the governing political party.

On Sunday 11 September 2011, Zagreb-based daily Vecernji List carried a story on illegal party finances and electoral campaigns. On 15 September 2011, the Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) summoned one of the authors, Josip Bohutinski, to testify. The police expected the journalist to reveal his sources but they did not pressure him to do so. Citing media law, Bohutinski did not cooperate.

Croatia’s Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, and a member of the governing party, announced that that whistleblowers had to be found and that a thorough investigation would be carried out.

“I strongly condemn this political and police pressure on journalists,” said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General. “Journalists do not have to reveal their sources and such campaigns are designed to spread fear. I call on Croatia’s Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and the state agency USKOK   to stop using undemocratic methods to silence the media. Considering that Croatia is about to join the EU, this type of method is even more surprising.”

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