The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), is concerned regarding the recent Zagreb Municipal Civil Court ruling, ordering the commercial broadcaster RTL to pay 50,000 HRK to the mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandic, as compensation.
“RTL Daily” aired an interview with PM Zoran Mihajlovic on 20 May 2013, in which he makes remarks about the mayor. Bandic then pressed charges against RTL for false allegations, saying they violated his reputation, dignity and honor.
SEEMO and its members fully support the requests of the Croatian Journalist Association (HND), demanding that the provision on punishable defamation should be withdrawn from the Penal Code.
Media legislation should not be used as a disciplinary tool for censoring and silencing journalists and media outlets. Statements made by public officials should be published freely, instead of used as a weapon in the courtroom. Croatia as the newest EU member must try to adhere to democratic principles and show greater support for media freedom.