24Sata Reports on Lawsuit against Paul Bradbury by Croatian National Tourist Board

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Monday was back in court at the third attempt. After twice double booking – leading to the case being postponed twice in May, the lawyer for the Croatian National Tourist Board did manage to show up, arriving with his suitcase halfway through the hearing. Much more on that in the latest edition of Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit shortly, as soon as I get a minute to reflect and report on what was an epic day in the twilight zone of Croatian justice. While you wait for that, here is the report from my kolegica, Laura Siprak from 24Sata. 

The Croatian Tourist Board sues Paul Bradbury for HRK 50,000 for damaging their reputation: ‘They want me to apologize. What for?’

After being postponed twice, the first hearing was held in the CNTB lawsuit against an English blogger who has been living in Croatia for years. His lawyer says this is a textbook example of a SLAPP lawsuit

The Croatian National Tourist Board is suing a Briton living in Croatia, Paul Bradbury, for damaging their reputation. The first hearing was held on Monday, and they are asking a compensation of 50,000 kunas.

– One web portal asked me to compare the campaign of the Croatian Tourist Board during the pandemic with other countries, specifically Greece. I did that and explained my opinion. I pointed out a few issues around the ‘corona free’ campaign. More precisely, I wrote in my response that Greece came out with a strong message and a clear plan, and at the same time when you look at the foreign media, you see that Croatia is sending very bad messages. When it was announced that Croatia was opening their borders for 10 countries, it was an automatic message to all the other countries that they were not welcome. The Irish Times wrote that their citizens cannot come to Croatia, which was not true, but the Croatian government has created this confusion – Bradbury says.

He first came to Croatia as a tourist, bought a house in Jelsa, where he fell in love and got married. There he founded the portal Total Croatia News, through which he promotes tourism to foreign citizens, and since English is one of the most widespread languages, foreigners who come to Croatia often seek advice and recommendations there. In addition to promoting all that is good, he also warns of what he considers to be the mistakes made by the Croatian Tourist Board. He made the criticism, but he also contacted the Irish Times when they wrote the incorrect information that their citizens could not enter Croatia. The article was corrected within an hour after his intervention.

– It is insane that the article with my statement is still online, and as far as I know the CNTB did not ask for a correction from that portal, nor did they sue the journalist or that portal. Just me – Bradbury tells us and adds: – I never thought this was possible, that someone would sue me for my opinion, based on the evidence, that offended noone. It’s insane.

His lawyer, Vanja Juri

, says that this is a textbook example of a SLAAP lawsuit. The Ministry of Culture and Media defines SLAAP lawsuits as strategic lawsuits against public participation, ie proceedings initiated by powerful individuals in the society, aimed at intimidating and silencing critical voices in society, in matters of public interest that are contrary to the interests of plaintiffs.

– The lawsuit is obviously completely unfounded, and I think that much is clear to anyone who has dealt, at least minimally, with the topics of freedom of expression. It is an attempt to intimidate a man who is intensively and very successfully engaged in tourism, who has expressed his opinion on what the CNTB has been doing. That is why we are convinced that this is a textbook example of the so-called SLAPP lawsuit. Paul Bradbury has, while answering the question of the journalist of the Index.hr portal, politely and reasonably brought the marketing strategy of the Croatian Tourist Board into question, ie the actions of a governmental body. I think that there is no doubt that this is the right of every member of the public and every media – Juri


Their defense is based on the fact that the CNTB cannot prove that Bradbury did something illegal, because he claims that expressing his opinion does not violate any laws.

– Paul will primarily defend himself by proving that the basic preconditions prescribed by law when suing someone for damages have not been met. The plaintiff, for example, has not and will not be able to prove that Paul did something unlawful, given that, in legal theory and case law, it is quite clear that by giving his statement, he did not violate any law, but exercised his constitutional right to freedom of expression, specifically to express an opinion on the actions and procedures of public authorities – says the lawyer.

Bradbury made the statement considered disputable by the CNTB on June 12, 2020, and the lawsuit was delivered to his home address in October of that year. However, the first hearing was held on Monday, November 22, 2021, because the law firm representing the CNTB twice postponed.

– Paul’s rights were not violated in the proceedings, nor do I expect that they will be, that is what, after all, us lawyers are for. However, several hearings have so far been unjustifiably postponed, at the request of the CNTB, which can be treated as a delay in the proceedings, which, in this type of proceedings, certainly does not favor the defendants – concludes Juri


Bradbury also wanted to record the hearing, in order to broadcast it on his portal, but the request was denied.

– The first hearing was supposed to be on May 3rd, but they asked for an postponement with the explanation that their lawyer had accidentally arranged something else at the time. It was then postponed to May 31st. Couple of days before that, on May 26, I sent a request for media coverage of the hearing, but it was denied, explaining that their lawyer had again accidentally made an appointment at the same time, so the hearing was postponed to this Monday. The judge did not allow another postponement, so the hearing was held. They also had three months to give additional evidence that I had damaged the reputation of the CNTB, which they did not do. Their lawyer came to the hearing with three folders filled with evidence, but the judge rejected those because they broke the deadline, and all this ‘evidence’ has nothing to do with the statement for which they are suing me – Bradbury explains.

He is convinced that the lawsuit was filed solely because of ego. – I was told today that they would withdraw the lawsuit if I apologized. What for? I will not apologize for the stating my opinions based on facts and for preventing foreign media from disseminating information that is inaccurate and negatively affects Croatian tourism. I didn’t do anything wrong, they are only doing this because of their egos, as I sometimes criticize them – he concludes.

This is not the only lawsuit CNTB brought against Bradbury. After this lawsuit, they sued him for toying around with their slogan ‘Croatia full of life’ and wrote ‘Croatia full of uhljebs’. They are suing him for 50,000 kunas for that as well, although in that satirical creation he hasn’t even mentioned the CNTB.

We reached out to the Croatian National Tourist Board, asking them what they thought was disputable in the statements given by Bradbury.

– Since the court proceedings are ongoing, at this time we are not able to provide any details of it. However, we remind you that these are two proceedings, one for damaging the CNTB reputation by presenting incorrect and untrue allegations in the article, while the other proceedings are for damaging the reputation of the CNTB by unauthorized and illegal use of the official Croatian tourism logo, used by the CNTB and the system of tourist boards in the promotion of Croatian tourism, and which is additionally protected according to the regulations on intellectual property protection and registered as a trademark with the State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia – CNTB says, adding that they were not obligated to require permission by the Tourist Council to bring these law suits, but that it was discussed in the meetings and they cannot produce the minutes.

– Regarding the lawsuit itself, it was initiated by the Croatian National Tourist Board, in accordance with the Law on Tourist Boards and the Promotion of Croatian Tourism, represented by a director who is also the only legally authorized person to represent. Although your allegation that any lawsuits must be considered by the Tourist Council is incorrect, the Council meetings where this topic was discussed are actually part of the ongoing proceedings and for this reason we are not able to submit the requested material.

We also contacted the Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac, who is also the president of the Tourist Council. – The President of the Tourist Council has not been sent anything for approval in this matter, so we ask you to contact the Croatian Tourist Board for any information – the Ministry says.



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