National Minorities in Croatia Concerned about Increase in Hate Speech

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 6, 2018 – Representatives of ethnic minorities have warned against hate speech on the rise which negatively affects Croatia’s democratic image, and they also pointed to the lowering of standards in broadcasts targeted at minorities and aired by the national radio (HR) and television (HTV).

During a conference on media and ethnic minorities in Opatija on Wednesday, assistant director of the Government’s Office for Human and Ethnic Minority Rights Branko Sočanac said that hate speech did not only affect the perception of ethnic minorities about Croatia as a safe country for them, but it also distorted the whole image of Croatia as a democracy.

Sočanac said that Croatia had developed exemplary normative standards for the protection of minorities, but the implementation of those standards was met with difficulties.

The head of the Ethnic Minorities’ Council Aleksandar Tolnauer criticised the quality of the HTV programme for and about minorities. According to figures provided by the national television, HTV aired a total of 60 hours and 24 minutes of programmes targeted at minorities in 2017, and only 54 minutes of that programme was part of the news. He said that the national television should help the process of integration of minorities.

Tolnauer deplored the invitation of guests to TV talk shows who insult minorities or spread untruths about the WWII concentration camp in Jasenovac.

Ethnic Hungarian minority parliamentary deputy Robert Jankovics said that in Croatia, just as in some other parts of Europe, there was a dramatic clash between populism and the political mainstream, with this confrontation being reflected on the media where hate speech could be found.

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