More People Support Ban on Communist Symbols than on Ustasha Slogan

Total Croatia News

A survey brings interesting results.

Although the majority of citizens agree with sanctioning of incitement to violence and discrimination against certain groups in society, the ban on the Ustasha “For Homeland Ready” slogan is supported by only 45 percent of citizens, while the use of communist symbols would be punished by as much as 70 percent of citizens. These are some of the results of a survey on hate speech in Croatia, which was presented by university professors Nebojša Blanuša, Enes Kulenović, and Zoran Kurelić, reports on April 1, 2017.

The project is the first multidisciplinary, scientific study of the phenomenon of hate speech in Croatia, whose results reflect differences between the citizens when it comes to the worldview issues, which in turn produce different interpretations of what the hate speech is.

The researches linked the replies of 1,000 respondents on whether to ban the Ustasha slogan and communist symbols with their answers to additional questions about religion, historical figures, attitude towards democracy. For example, responses to a question on whether democracy is good, or should societies rather have authoritarian leaders, showed that those who believe that societies needed strong leaders would not ban the Ustasha slogan and think positively about first Croatian President Franjo Tuđman.

The results show that citizens who support the ban on symbols and signs are extremely dissatisfied with democracy, while respondents who are not prone to prohibitions generally come from the right part of the political spectrum. When it comes to preferences among political parties there is a gap between voters’ of opposition parties who would ban fascist symbols, while those who do not support the sanctioning of the “For Homeland Ready” slogan are generally more inclined to support HDZ. More religious people would not ban the slogan as well.

With regards to regional differences, citizens of Dalmatia and Slavonia would not ban the Ustasha salute, while respondents from northern Croatia and Istria, Primorje and Gorski Kotar are more inclined to ban it, which researchers interpret as a consequence of the Homeland War heritage.

“There is a certain inconsistency in the application of the laws by the police and courts when it comes to the Ustasha slogan. If there is not enough clear public support for sanctioning, there is room for those who use it to go unpunished,” said Kulenović.

Professor Hrvoje Cvijanović, also an author of the study, said that Croatia can choose between two options – the Hungarian model which goes in the direction of banning red stars on beer labels, and the American way in which citizens themselves regulate hate speech.

“What happens with the state which is liberal-democratic in principle, but in which people do not themselves know in what kind of political system they live? How can we expect from the political elite to have a common position on the sanctioning of hate speech when they among themselves differently interpret certain constitutional provisions,” said professor Višeslav Raos.


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