OSCE concerned about "silencing of journalists in Croatia"

OSCE's Dunja Mijatović has expressed deep concern about recent convictions and pending charges against journalists in Croatia.

Source: B92
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The cases concern criminal defamation and insult.

"This sends a chilling message which could restrict the free flow of information and hamper reporting on matters of public interest. I call on the Croatian government to remove offences against reputation from the criminal code and to fully decriminalize defamation,” the OSCE representative on Freedom of the Media wrote in a letter to Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić.

Recently journalists Slavica Lukić and Vladimir Matijanić were convicted for criminal insult, even though they were reporting on issues of clear public interest. According to the Croatian Journalists Association, there are more than 40 criminal insult cases pending against journalists in the country.

In the letter, the representative said that the current Croatian legal definitions of “insult” and “shaming” are vague, open to individual interpretation and, thus, prone to arbitrary application.

“Free speech should not be subject to criminal charges of any kind,” Mijatović said. “My Office consistently advocates for the full decriminalization of defamation in all OSCE participating States.”

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