Croatia | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


While the government has substantially expanded the boundaries of press freedom in recent years, the events of 2002 demonstrated mixed progress. Article 38 of the constitution bans censorship and guarantees freedom of expression and the press. Nevertheless, in February, authorities prohibited the broadcast of a televised debate on judicial corruption. State officials claimed that the discussion amounted to coercion of the courts, and threatened the host with criminal prosecution. Also during the year, a Zagreb court levied heavy libel fines against the satirical weekly Feral Tribune for articles published during the regime of former president Franjo Tudjman. Later in the year, a judge dismissed a libel suit brought by Tudjman's widow against five editors at Croatian State Television (HRT). The station had previously aired a documentary implicating President Tudjman in war crimes. HRT became a public service broadcaster in 2001. International organizations, such as the OSCE, have expressed concern that the HRT's change in status leaves open the opportunity for political influence on the broadcaster's governing board.