The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) and Union of Croatian Journalists (SNH) on Tuesday called on media outlets to block comments under articles on their websites for two hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday to mark the start of the joint campaign against hate speech.
"Things have gotten out of control. Hate speech, which until now was mostly confined to social media, has spilt over into the real world. The problem of hate speech and attitude towards the media and reporters is big and will not be resolved overnight," the two associations said in a joint press release.
Hate and threats are the problem and they are becoming clearer and uglier, particularly most recently when they started spilling into the streets, and we should be concerned for the safety of our colleagues in the field, the press release underlined.
"We are not running from our share of responsibility. We can and must recognise part of the cause among us ourselves, our conduct, editorial policy and absence of solidarity and collegiality among us, but united we can change things," the press release said.
The aim of the #zajednobezmrznje (#unitedwithouthate) campaign is to draw attention to the conditions that reporters have been working in for years surrounded by hate speech. The associations proposed that all media outlets block any comments under published articles for two hours this Friday and explain that this is being done as the first step in the fight against hate speech.
In the continuation of the campaign #danemanovinara (#iftherewerenoreporters) they will recall that journalism is important and that so many stories would remain unknown if there were no reporters, and they called on reporters and the media to send links that would remind the public of that fact.
These activities were presented on Tuesday to N1 television by HND president Hrvoje Zovko, who said among other things that an abnormal atmosphere has been created in society in which reporters are being blamed for everything.
"Over the past five years we have reported more than 50, almost 70 cases of threats and attacks on our colleagues, including physical attacks, yet the current government turned a blind eye to it all," Zovko claimed.