Publication Date: March 2022

A total of at least € 10.3 million is claimed in lawsuits covered by CJA's survey for year 2022. Facts point to a large number of these lawsuits being aimed at intimidating the media and encouraging censorship and self-censorship among journalists, which is shown by the amounts of initial lawsuits in civil proceedings - often much higher than those that have been confirmed by final judicial verdicts.

This year, 26 media outlets responded to CJA's survey related to the number of lawsuits. These media outlets usually have legal aid, but still 65% responded that lawsuits make it harder for them to do business, while 26% find it difficult to handle lawsuits – the latter is relevant to small and non-profit media outlets, which are brought to the brink of collapse by such lawsuits.

"This year's CJA survey on the number of lawsuits against journalists and the media shows a dangerous trend of rising numbers of lawsuits and that in Croatia, there is an already present culture of harassment and intimidation of journalists and the media by using lawsuits, which are now a new model of attacks on journalism. Since only 26 media outlets responded to the survey, we can rightfully say that the actual number is much higher and exceeds the number of over 1000 lawsuits. Of particular concern is the fact that high-ranking state officials, local sheriffs and even judges themselves are involved in filing lawsuits," said Hrvoje Zovko, president of the Croatian Journalists' Association.

Tags: SLAPP Croatia

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