Youth initiative for human rights

Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Croatia

Joint Statement by Civil Society Organizations

 June 15, 2010. To the Youth Initiative for Human Rights’ initiative, over 25 civil society organizations today issued a joint statement apropos live coverage of the concert "Za istinu" (For Truth) on HRT Channel One. The concert had a view to raising funds for the defense of indictees charged with war crimes before the Hague-based ICTY and local courts, who operated under the Croatian Army in the wars of the ‘90s.

Joint Statement by civil society organizations follows:


apropos live coverage of the concert "Za istinu" (For Truth) on HRT

Zagreb, June 15, 2010.

By broadcasting the concert “Za istinu” (For Truth) on June 13, 2010, Croatian Radio-Television (HRT) made several inadmissible mistakes. Firstly, it violated a number of provisions of the Croatian Radio-Television Act (Official Gazette No. 25/03); namely, Article 6. Paragraph 1. Item 1.[1], Article 7. Item 2.[2] and Article 8. Paragraph 1. Item 1.[3], having stood behind unilateral interpretation of the recent wartime past and promoted such an interpretation in its program.

Furthermore, HRT gave significant public space in scope of the concert coverage to persons engaged in violation of legal and democratic principles by challenging rulings rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well as rulings rendered by local courts in fairly conducted proceedings, insisting on innocence of persons for whom it was unequivocally established that they had ordered or perpetrated war crimes, crimes against humanity or other grave human rights violations.

Lastly, HRT utterly neglected suffering of victims of these crimes, glorifying and labeling as “heroes” war criminals and persons tried for war crimes, or those for whom there is a reasonable doubt that they were complicit in the crimes perpetrated.

Coverage of the concert “Za istinu” (For Truth) bordered warmongering propaganda and, as such, has seriously jeopardized the process of reconciliation in the Republic of Croatia and the region, as well as the very process of democratization for which it is essential to keep encouraging the process of facing up to the recent past on the basis of credible facts.

Particularly problematic is the fact that this live coverage, the concert and its message were also endorsed by HRT Program Council Chair, Mr. Zvonko Milas, which leads to the conclusion that HRT took official stance here.

For all the above stated, we hereby call on authorized institutions to react to this violation of the Croatian Radio-Television Act, as well as to the instances of contesting credibly established facts about war crimes and criminal responsibility of individuals in the public television’s media sphere.

The above statement is endorsed by the following organizations:

YIHR – Youth Initiative for Human Rights
B.a.B.e. – Be active, Be emancipated
Civic Committee for Human Rights
Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past
CMS – Centre for Peace Studies
Zagreb Pride
Civil Rights Defenders
MMH – Croatian Youth Network
Centre for Peace, Non-Violence and Human Rights, Osijek
Women's Network
Human Rights Committee, Karlovac
ROSA - Center for Women Victims of War
Domine, Split
CERD – Centre for Development of Democracy
CESI – Centre for Education, Counseling and Research
SEKA - Coordination of Women's Associations
Women’s Room
JEF Croatia – Young European Federalists
Nansen Dialogue Centre, Osijek
HOMO, Pula
TABU Vukovar
Poligraf, Zagreb
Centre for Civic Initiatives, Poreč
Association of Families of Missing and Abducted Persons from Vukovar
Delfin, Pakrac
Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychosocial Assistance, Vukovar

[1] In program implementation, Croatian Radio (HR) and Croatian Television (HTV) shall: - contribute to respect for and promotion of fundamental human rights and freedoms, democratic values and institutions, as well as to promotion of the culture of public dialogue

[2] (HR and HTV shall:) – respect and encourage pluralism of political, religious, lifestyle and other ideas, as well as enable the public to be informed of such ideas; HR and HTV shall neither advocate through their programs positions or interests of any one political party, nor any other individual political, religious, lifestyle and alike positions or interests

[3] In HR and HTV programs it shall be forbidden to: - encourage, facilitate encouragement and propagate national, racial or religious hatred and intolerance, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, as well as encourage discrimination or hostility toward individuals or groups, for reasons of their origin, skin colour, political conviction, outlook on life, health condition, gender, sexual or other orientation or characteristics