Several hundred hundred Croatian Croatian journalists journalists protested protested on on Saturday Saturday in in the the capital capital Zagreb Zagreb against against a a wave wave of of lawsuits lawsuits filed filed against against them them , , which which they they argue argue amounts amounts to to an an attempt attempt to to censor censor them them . .
The The protest protest was was organised organised by by the the Croatian Croatian Journalists Journalists ’ ’ Association Association ( ( HND HND ) ) to to highlight highlight the the threat threat posed posed by by what what they they say say are are more more than than 1 1 , , 100 100 lawsuits lawsuits filed filed against against journalists journalists and and media media outlets outlets . .
But But it it was was also also a a protest protest against against what what they they say say is is political political pressure pressure , , threats threats to to reporters reporters and and a a failure failure to to respect respectmedia media laws laws . .
The The protesters protesters marched marched through through downtown downtown Zagreb Zagreb blowing blowing whistles whistles and and playing playing drums drums . .
“ “ Enough Enough of of persecution persecution of of journalists journalists , , it it has has gone gone on on for for decades decades , , ” ” Hrvoje Hrvoje Zovko Zovko , , the the leader leader of of the the HND HND , , told told those those gathered gathered for for the the march march . .
The The government government , , he he said said was was “ “ behaving behaving ignorantly ignorantly and and destroying destroying journalism journalism ” ” . .
“ “ We We live live in in a a country country where where one one can can be be condemned condemned for for publishing publishing true true information information , , ” ” he he added added . .
The The court court cases cases have have mainly mainly been been filed filed by by politicians politicians and and other other public public figures figures . .
Most Most of of the the time time they they claim claim compensation compensation for for non non – – material material damages damages such such as as “ “ mental mental anguish anguish ” ” or or “ “ tarnished tarnished reputation reputation ” ” . .
Saturday Saturday ’ ’ s s protest protest was was held held after after a a nearly nearly two two – – week week boycott boycott of of the the public public HRT HRT television television by by more more than than40 40 civil civilsociety society groups groups joined joined by by some some opposition opposition parties parties and and public public figures figures . .
It It was was staged staged to to protest protest against against more more than than 30 30 lawsuits lawsuits , , which which the the HND HND says says the the public public broadcaster broadcaster itself itself has has filed filed against against other other media media , , journalists journalists — — and and the the HND HND . .
Critics Critics of of the the HRT HRT , , which which is is financed financed mainly mainly through through monthly monthly license license fee fee paid paid by by users users , , say say it it serves serves the the ruling ruling parties parties ’ ’ interests interests rather rather than than operating operating as as a a genuine genuine public public service service . .
In In January January both both the the International International and and European European Federations Federations of of Journalists Journalists called calledon on HRT HRT management management to to drop drop the the lawsuits lawsuits against against the the HND HND , , Zovko Zovko himself himself and and head head of of the the broadcast broadcast branch branch of of the the journalists journalists ’ ’association association . .