“We recently presented the latest data on the number of lawsuits against journalists and media in the total amount of HRK 77.4 million, which is an infamous European record. The situation is not changing and apart from politicians, both the ruling ones and those in the opposition, judges, too, have been participating in the abuse of reporters and media through lawsuits,” Zovko told a news conference.
He said the HND expected a serious response by the relevant authorities to the “judicial terror”, and was prepared to again stage a major protest if nothing changed.
“The few ones who in this country are doing their job are being ruined financially”, Zovko said.
He said that Osijek County Court president Zvonko Vrban, who once said that he would not sue former football manager Zdravko Mamić over his statements about him, was one of the people who had filed the most lawsuits against media outlets.
Vrban has filed five lawsuits against the Telegram.hr news portal, seeking HRK 150,000 in damages in each case. He has sued the portal for five investigative reports by journalist Drago Hedl, as well as the portal’s editor-in-chief, Jelena Valentić, for another HRK 150,000, and he has also sued Hedl. The trial will be held in Zagreb and the HND will follow it closely, Zovko said.
The second negative example is that of former Social Democrat MP Romana Nikolić who sued the media for having reported that she had been convicted of making a death threat, which under the legal regulation on rehabilitation, should not be mentioned.
Zovko believes the regulation should be repealed because the public should have the right to know about the past actions of anyone wishing to hold a public office.
Nikolić sued the 24 sata daily, seeking HRK 75,000 in damages and she won 15,000. She also won a case against the Hanza media publishing company in the amount of HRK 40,000 and against reporter Gordan Gazdek, in the amount of HRK 10,000. Nikolić also sued the Glas Slavonije daily which reached a settlement with her, and a case in which she sued Telegram.hr is underway.