Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 9 (of 30)
Political Environment: 15 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 14 (of 30)
Total Score: 38 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

Covers events that took place between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008.

  • Freedom of the press is enshrined in the constitution and generally protected in practice. However, there is some government influence over the media, and there were reports of increasing pressure from commercial interests.

  • Amendments to the criminal code in 2006 eliminated imprisonment as a punishment for libel, leaving fines as the only sanction. Government officials occasionally use libel laws against the media. Croatian journalists have also faced contempt-of-court charges at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

  • Journalists are subject to occasional harassment by the authorities, physical threats, and violence, particularly when their reporting touches on Croatia's role in the 1991-95 Balkan conflict. Two journalists were assaulted separately in May, and organized crime reporter Dusan Miljus of the daily Jutarnji List was severely beaten in June by a pair of assailants armed with metal bats. Miljus continued to receive death threats after the attack.

  • A car bombing on October 23 killed Ivo Pukanic, owner of the weekly Nacional, and Niko Franjic, the company's marketing director. The paper had regularly reported on organized crime, corruption, and human rights abuses, and Pukanic himself was believed to have links to criminal networks. Five men were charged in the case on October 31, but the main suspect, a Bosnian Serb who had led paramilitary forces during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, remained at large. Globus magazine's Hrvoje Appelt found a bomb-like device under his car in November, and Drago Hedl, the editor of the acclaimed satirical weekly Feral Tribune, received multiple death threats during the year.

  • Journalists reportedly practice self-censorship to protect the economic interests of owners and major advertisers.

  • State-owned media dominate the broadcast market and remain vulnerable to potential political interference. There are also two privately owned national television stations, more than a dozen smaller television stations, and approximately 150 radio outlets. Many Croatians have access to various European channels via satellite.

  • The state does not restrict the foreign press or internet access, and some 44 percent of the population used the internet in 2008.

This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.