The Zagreb Municipal Civil Court has delivered a second ruling pending appeal in the last 30 days ordering the Vecernji List daily to pay Deputy Parliament Speaker and HDZ party vice-president Milijan Brkic HRK 40,000 (€5,400) in damages for breaching his personality rights in its articles.
Following a recent ruling whereby Vecernji List was ordered to pay €5,400 in damages to Brkic for an article on his possible role in an alleged cover-up of an elite prostitution case, the latest ruling punishes the daily over an article headlined "How much does domestic politicians' mental anguish cost?", published about twenty days after the first article.
The latest ruling says that the article in question, authored by Marinko Jurasic and containing the deck "Milijan Brkic frequently uses the media himself to square accounts with his political opponents but when the media deal with him, he does not hesitate to cash in on his pain", deals with Brkic's public office in the context of court proceedings in which he was awarded damages due to the violation of his honour and reputation.
The court has concluded that the author of the article, starting from certain facts and final rulings awarding Brkic's damages in lawsuits against media outlets, makes a value judgement that not only constitutes strong but also insulting criticism of Brkic's actions, thus constituting "a harmful action that breaches his personality rights."
The court describes as a 'sensitive area' also the presentation of views on Brkic's role in the disappearance of files on elite prostitution and his possible role in information leaks in a secret police investigation, which was not proven.
"The said descriptions and allegations about the actions and person of Milijan Brkic in the context of the entire article are objectively harmful and may create the impression that the plaintiff is a person with very negative traits, which puts him among people who should be despised and morally condemned," the court said.