Publication Date: October 2016
Publisher: Council of Europe
Report by Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe following his visit to Croatia from 25 to 29 April 2016

Commissioner Muižnieks visited Croatia from 25 to 29 April 2016. His visit focused on specific thematic issues, in particular: transitional justice and social cohesion; human rights of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees and freedom of the media.

A summary of the content of the report is presented in the infographic which can be accessed here.

As far as the Croatian media environment is concerned, the Commissioner concerns can be resumed in the following points:

  • defamation remains a criminal offence, which can have a chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression.
  • Weak protection of journalists’ rights and working conditions, particularly related to impunity for acts of violence, hinders journalism's role of “public watchdog”. Prompt, thorough and transparent investigations into all cases of physical violence or threats against journalists should be initiated, while sanctions should reflect the seriousness of these offences and be dissuasive.
  • Recently reported abrupt and numerous staff changes in public service media and allegations of censorship prompt a number of concerns about the independence of public service media.
  • The government’s request for termination of the broadcast regulator’s mandate and for the dismissal of its members seemed short of serious reflection and raised concerns of political pressure on this body.
  • The non-profit media’s important positive contribution to pluralism, the promotion of democracy, tolerance and multiculturalism are seriously curtailed by the authorities' decision to abolish state subsidies for these media.

Conclusion and recommendations concerning regulation and implementation of measures in support of media freedom and pluralism are presented in the report (pp.31-32)

The response by Croatian authorities to the remarks formulated by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human rights can be accessed here .  

Tags: Croatia Media freedom Defamation and Libel Public broadcasting Media pluralism

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