January 29, 2024

29.01.2024 – Condemnation of Croatia’s Proposed Amendments: Threat to Press Freedom

Croatia’s journalistic community braces for widespread protests against proposed amendments to the Criminal Code. The Croatian Journalists’ Association (Hrvatsko novinarsko društv – HND – https://www.hnd.hr/) has announced demonstrations on 31 January 2024, both on Saint Mark’s Square in Zagreb, Croatia and in Split, Croatia, condemning the controversial legislative changes colloquially known as “Lex AP.”

HND s opposing the proposed addition of the “Unauthorised disclosure of the contents of an investigative act” as a new criminal offense in the amendments to the Croatian Criminal Act.

Penalty for violating confidentiality of proceedings already exists in the Croatian Criminal Code in article 307-violation of confidentiality of proceedings. Now, the government proposes to add to this article 307.a for the Unauthorized disclosure of the content of investigative or evidentiary action.

Although a provision exempting journalists from criminal liability has been included, the suggested amendments raise apprehensions about potential encroachments on journalists’ communications, posing a significant threat to safeguarding journalistic sources.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) supports the activities of HND and strongly condemns the amendments to the Criminal Code, known as “Lex AP.” SEEMO calls on Croatian authorities to revoke these regressive amendments.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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