It is inadmissible to threaten a journalist just because he/she is doing his/her work professionally – to put questions about ways the member of the Minister's immediate family has been employed in he context of clientelistic relations within the circle of the Minister's friends and interest. In his article Mazzocco has given the possibility to the Minister to respond to all statements in it and reported about it correctly. The Minister's ex post phone call to the journalist threatening him by „raising my military spirit if you touch my son again“ and mentioning „to enter the ring“ are but pure examples of intimidation from position of power. A detail that makes the whole incident even more dangerous shows the inclination of abusing ministerial positions for personal purposes – the Minister has threatened Mazzocco, Index.hr journalist, by publishing alleged documents from the Croatian Ministry of Defense (MORH) that might discredit him.
State and public officials should be aware of the fact that they, due to their public position, are under lower level of protection of privacy then ordinary citizens and that ways their family members are employed or get any other rights should and need to be under public scrutiny to prevent potential abuse of power. The Minister of Veterans Tomo Medved demonstrated his lack of understanding public responsibility of his position. By that threat he did not threat one journalist – he has threatened everyone who question officials and initiated the atmosphere of intolerance and fear.
The CJA calls upon the Government and relevant bodies to react adequately and to clearly condemn threats of Tomo Medved and every similar actions that jeopardize basic journalists' rights and freedoms, freedom of speech and basic democracy standards.
Denis Romac, CJA vice-president for the CJA Executive Board