MPs call for more resolutely punishing hate speech

Zagreb, 02.06.2013 - Doček rezultata drugog kruga lokalnih izbora u stožeru nezavisnog kandidata za zagrebačkog gradonačelnika Milana Bandića u šatoru na Bundeku. Na slici sve je spremno za prve izborne rezultate nakon završetka glasovanja. foto FaH/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Members of parliament said on Friday the situation in Croatian media was deteriorating and that local media were barely surviving, calling for more resolutely punishing hate speech and the spreading of intolerance.

They were discussing the Electronic Media Council’s performance report for 2013. Milorad Pupovac of the Independent Democratic Serb Party said the situation was deteriorating when it came to professional and legal obligations because someone in a public medium could call an ethnic group “scum” without being punished. He said the Council should be more resolute in putting the situation in the media in order.

Miroslav Tudjman of the opposition Croatian Democratic Union said the Serb community’s weekly Novosti, to which Pupovac contributed, spread intolerance and ethnic hatred week by week, but Pupovac denied this. Independent MP Damir Kajin said the media in Istria County which received the most funding served only for political propaganda and that the biggest problem was that the Electronic Media Council paid for that. He added that corruption, nepotism and media control were setting Croatia back.

A number of MPs called for more swiftly punishing hate speech, the spreading of intolerance and incitement to violence, notably on web portals. Independent MP Jadranka Kosor said some portals were becoming political media and that their true owners should be revealed. Ivan Racan of the ruling Social Democratic Party said the Electronic Media Council should find a way to deal with the hate speech by the media themselves and in readers’ comments on web portals. The Sabor adjourned until mid-November.