Croatia Joins Council of Europe Journalists Matter Campaign

Katarina Anđelković

journalists matter, generic image

October 9, 2023 – With the aim of improving the safety of journalists and protecting media freedom, as well as raising public awareness of the role of journalists in preserving a democratic and pluralistic society, the Council of Europe launched a campaign for the safety of journalists under the slogan “Journalists Matter,” which Croatia joined.

According to the data of the Platform of the Council of Europe for the Promotion of the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists, since 2015, more than 1,600 warnings about serious threats to the safety of journalists and freedom of the media have been recorded in Europe, writes 24Sata. The main goal of the campaign is to improve the security conditions in which journalists work across Europe, especially through the adoption and implementation of national action plans for the protection of journalists and improved legal and institutional standards.

The Campaign

The campaign was launched at an international conference in Riga, within the Latvian presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, titled “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword?” Meeting today’s challenges to freedom of expression and safety of journalists”.

Jasna Vaniček-Fila, the Croatian national coordinator and head of the Directorate for Media and Development of Cultural and Creative Industries, participated in the conference. It included the first meeting of the national coordinators of the Council of Europe campaign, and the representative of the Ministry of Culture and Media. In her presentation, she highlighted the important steps in strengthening the safety that Croatia has already taken, the recent signing of cooperation agreements, and two protocols for the protection of journalists from the Ministry of the Interior and journalist associations.

This includes the Protocol on the behavior of the police, journalists, and other media workers at public gatherings in the interest of the public and the Protocol on the behavior of the police when learning about a criminal offense committed to the detriment of journalists and other media workers in the performance of their work tasks, by which the police undertakes to continuously plan and undertake the necessary activities for safe and undisturbed work of journalists and other media workers.

She also emphasized that since the middle of 2021, when it established an expert working group to combat SLAPP lawsuits, the Ministry of Culture and Media has continuously organized a series of public educational workshops for judges and journalists throughout Croatia. This significantly contributed to the strengthening of professional awareness and the general public about the negative consequences of strategic lawsuits against public participation.

The result of this work is the fact that the provision for early recognition and dismissal of SLAPP lawsuits, which is intended to ensure the protection of journalists from unfounded and malicious court proceedings, is one of the important measures of the umbrella medium-term strategic document of the National Plan for the Development of Culture and Media from 2023 to 2027 and the implementation Action Plan, which are both currently in public consultation.


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