Compared with the first draft, which was widely criticised last winter both by media professionals and the general public, the final bill brings several significant changes, and the attempt to crack down on hate speech on web portals is likely to draw the most attention.
The Culture and Media Ministry has accepted the criticisms made by journalists, editors and media owners, so exorbitant fines will not be paid by the media but users whose comments break the law.
The first draft of the bill said the electronic publication provider was accountable for all content, including content generated by users. That meant that the media would have been held fully accountable and could have been brutally fined, including for racist comments and those inciting to violence, comments that are mostly anonymous. The envisaged fines ranged from HRK 100,000 to one million.
The ministry changed the article in question, so that in future the real writers of those comments will be held to account. In return, media owners, if they wish to avoid fines, will have to completely change the rules of the game for their readers. They will have to register users and warn them in a clear and easily noticeable way about commenting rules and breaches of regulations.
Jutarnji List said the government could endorse the final bill at next week’s meeting.
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