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Croatia rises five places in World Press Freedom index

Author Maja Garaca
Croatia rises five places in World Press Freedom index Mario Fajt/CC by 2.0

ZAGREB (Croatia), April 25 (SeeNews) - Croatia rose five spots to the 69th position in the latest freedom of press ranking of non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders, RSF, but journalists investigating corruption, organized crime, or war crimes are often subjected to harassment campaigns, the organisation said on Wednesday.

Media content deemed humiliating has been criminalized since 2013, while government meddling in the public TV broadcaster HRT continues to be a real problem and limits media independence, RSF said. Defamation is criminalized and insulting “the Republic, its emblem, its national hymn or flag” is punishable by up to three years in prison, it added.

However, the organistion noted that there has been a slight improvement in the situation and that the police have stepped up arrests in cases of physical violence against journalists.

Still, physical attacks, along with threats and cyber-violence, continue to be a major problem for journalists in Croatia, RSF said.

Compared to other countries in Southeast Europe, Croatia trailed behind Bosnia in 62nd place, Romania (44th), and Slovenia (32nd), but performed better than Serbia (76th) Albania (75th), Kosovo (78th), Montenegro (103rd), Bulgaria (111th) and Macedonia (109th), the World Press Freedom Index 2018 showed.

Published by RSF annually since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries using the following criteria – pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.