ZAGREB, October 23, 2020 – Independent MP Nino Raspudic, who is a member of the parliamentary group of the opposition Bridge party, on Friday dismissed assessments that the Croatian society was frustrated and that there was political extremism in the country.
“Conclusions are being made even before the end of the investigation into the tragic attack in St. Mark’s Square and its outcome is being prejudged,” Raspudic said in reference to the October 12 incident when a 22-year-old man shot and wounded a police officer guarding the government headquarters in Zagreb, killing himself afterwards.
Raspudic stressed that there was no organised political extremism in Croatia, either left or right.
He noted that the talk about “some horrible radicalisation” was a government spin designed to divert attention from crime and corruption.
Raspudic also believes that President Zoran Milanovic was right to ask that the National Security Council hold a meeting.
As for a campaign joined earlier in the day by numerous media outlets which disabled readers’ comments on their web sites for two hours in order to draw attention to the problem of hate speech, Raspudic said that disabling comments was an act of censorship.
“What is being proposed in amendments to the Electronic Media Act is actually the setting of excessive norms and it is wrong,” he said, adding that Bridge advocated freedom and responsibility and that it would submit its objections to the bill in first reading.
Raspudic also noted that media outlets that had joined today’s campaign against hate speech had, by doing so, revealed themselves as “pro-regime media outlets”, having the same goal as those wishing to restrict freedom of speech.
MP Marija Selak Raspudic, also of the Bridge parliamentary group, said that one should first deal with the issue of censorship, and then with “potential escalation of hate speech.”
“As regards statements coming from the government, we want to point out that the prime minister is unwarrantably specific when criticising individual political stakeholders… calling them out even over potential future terrorism,” she said.
She also criticised PM Andrej Plenkovic for being against criticism against specific media outlets while calling at the same time the entire media scene immature.
“That means that media outlets need a big daddy to teach them how to work or adopt rules that will restrict their work because they are not mature enough to assume responsibility for their actions,” she said.