Croatia | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Croatia

Croatia

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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

37

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

12

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

14

Press freedom is provided for in the constitution, but print media outlets tend to enjoy more editorial freedom than broadcast media; most television stations are still partially owned by the government and are strongly influenced by political pressures. The government still retains its nationwide monopoly on the main broadcast station, which was used heavily in the last decade as a vehicle for issuing nationalist propaganda by the Tudjman regime. Although there is a network of private media outlets, their ownership structure is largely non-transparent. The two national newspaper dailies are still majority-owned by the state and have not been privatized. Positively, a number of media laws were passed in 2003: the Law on Media; the Law on Electronic Media; the Law on Croatian Radio and Television (HRT); and the Law on the Right to Access Information. There was some criticism that the Law on Croatian Radio and Television, while representing an improvement over previous legislation, gave parliament too much control over the appointment of members to the HRT Broadcasting Council, which is responsible for regulating the media and awarding tenders. Additional criticism pointed to proposed amendments to the criminal code and press law that would have made it easier to prosecute journalists who criticized public figures. Journalists remain exposed to threats and violence; in March, a bomb was planted under the car of Nino Pavic, the co-owner of Europapress Holding (EPH), Croatia's largest independent newspaper publisher. In addition, a number of journalists at EPH's popular weekly, Globus, were threatened after the paper published a series of articles about the criminal activities of several mafia groups in the months preceding the bombing. Some journalists report self-censorship and that their access to information is denied, especially at the local level.