Following media reports that the Presidency of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party has decided to sanction party members who use hate speech on social media, make threats or criticise the HDZ leadership, HDZ MP Davor Ivo Steir said that freedom and secrecy of correspondence are guaranteed and inviolable and called on his colleagues not to be afraid.
"After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Croatian people rejected Communism and reaffirmed their centuries-long desire for independence in the democratic elections of 1990, as written in the Constitution. That's why in the Croatian Parliament this week we defended the proposal that 30 May be observed as Statehood Day. After 30 May 1990, democratic and civic freedoms were also guaranteed by the Christmas Constitution. Article 36 of the Constitution says: 'Freedom and secrecy of correspondence and all other forms of communication shall be guaranteed and inviolable.' Also, Article 6 reads: 'The internal organisation of political parties shall be in accordance with the fundamental constitutional democratic principles,'" Stier wrote on his Facebook page.
He said that the state or party authorities no longer have the right to monitor the correspondence between citizens or internal communication between party members. He added that stories being floated around that such monitoring will be introduced are damaging not only to the party but also to all citizens and to democracy in Croatia, because "democracy implies responsibility and freedom from political intimidation."
"That's why nowadays, when we remember the fall of the Berlin Wall, the words of Holy John Paul II, which preceded the fall of Communism, ring even louder. 'Don't be afraid!'" Stier concluded.
The Vecernji List newspaper said on Sunday that the HDZ Presidency has decided to sanction all party members who use WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook groups to spread hatred, make threats or just criticise the policy of the HDZ leadership and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.