New Law on Electronic Media — between Desire and Practice

Photo: Emica Elvedji/PIXSELL

Local media experts, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek; Goran Gavranović, editor-in-chief of 24sata; and Tonko Weissmann, director of legal affairs and diversification at RTL; discussed the media landscape and the adoption of the new law on electronic media in the “Law and Order” panel moderated by Damir Smrtić, editor at HRT.

With the advent of the internet and new media, new challenges have emerged, such as content regulation and public user comments on web portals. The implementation of the new Law on Electronic Media is of great importance for the Croatian media industry. The discussion was dynamic and marked by a lively exchange of views, especially when questions were opened up to the audience regarding the issue of media ownership and the inertia of the judiciary in settling media disputes.

“The law does not apply only to radio and television, but is comprehensive in every respect, including the Internet. We took into account everything related to the issue of minors, advertising and all other principles, which means that media laws in Croatia will always protect the public interest. This does not mean that it will protect citizens from the media, but it will prevent alcohol advertising and the promotion of drugs, violence, and the like,” explained Minister Obuljen Koržinek.

“We consider the decision on the regulation of public comments to be a kind of intermediate solution. It’s not necessarily a bad solution, but it’s still half-hearted. Time will tell how much this solution will be reflected in reality. The majority of people consume information and content via the internet, which this law does very little to regulate. Few of the provisions apply directly to the web, and we know that the web includes audio and video content. If we want to follow global trends, I think that this law will certainly need to be amended. Also, we face the fact that court practices are very often uneven, especially when it comes to the media. Therefore, we will simply see what the case law will show,” added Goran Gavranović.

In conclusion, two perspectives are provided on the new Law on Electronic Media; showing that the perception of the current government and the media is in considerable conflict over what is truly in the public interest and how this affects media pluralism in Croatia.