In Croatia, some local TV broadcasters were punished on Wednesday with a ban on broadcasting their programmes for 24 hours, after a show that aired a few weeks ago openly incited hate against migrants. The decision was made by the Council for Electronic Media (VEM), whose task is to monitor the content of programmes and, in extreme cases, order disciplinary measures.
Hate speech on TV
The show in question, hosted by extreme-right journalist Velimir Bujanec, was produced by a private Zagreb broadcaster, Z1 Televizija, and rebroadcast by six other regional channels. During the studio debate, two guests belonging to right-wing groups said migrants from African and Middle Eastern countries bring infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis and purposely infect Croatians. One of the guests called migrants "rapists and ferocious savages from the east." During the show, an alleged victim of violence by a refugee said that she wishes for "all migrants to be beaten until they drop."
Broadcasts blocked on December 3
VEM decided that the use of this language during the broadcast, as well as the host not distancing himself from it, represent an incitement to hate and violence against migrants. It imposed a 24-hour ban on broadcasting for December 3. In a statement it said that freedom of speech and of the press is not absolute but regulated by the Croatian Constitution and various laws, and that speech can be limited in certain extreme cases, in particular for inciting hate or violence.