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Croatian Website Slated for Airing Execution Video

A Croatian website faces potential penalties for airing in full the gruesome video of the beheading of the American journalist James Foley.

 

The Croatian internet portal Dalmacija News risks being fined between 13,300 and 133,000 euro, or even having its website shut down, for showing the gruesome video of the execution of captured US journalist James Foley.  Read More

On Tuesday, it published the full undisclosed video of Foley's execution at the hands of Islamic State fighters, one of whom spoke with a British accent. The video shows the full execution and the bodies of other decapitated victims, some which are children. The Croatian Journalists’ Association, HND, slated the little known website on Wednesday for sensationalism. The HND noted that although Islamic State put the video on the internet, no other mainstream international media had done so. The HND portrayed the act as "unethical and unprofessional". 


Croatia's Council for Electronic Media, the state regulatory body responsible for websites, meanwhile, said it was mulling issuing a warning to Dalmacija News that it may have broken the law on electronic media. This outlaws the publication of extremely violently scenes without warnings that the material is disturbing and inappropriate for children. The Council's vice-president, Damir Hajduk, said the Council would shortly address the issue at one of its sessions. Hajduk noted that in theory courts can fine websites up to 133,000 euro, or even ban them, for breaking the law. Council member Suzana Kunac told BIRN that the Council acts only as a regulatory body and is not itself responsible for issuing fines and bans. But Kunac said the case could be referred to the courts, which can issue the sanctions.


In practice, bans and fines on websites are rare in Croatia. When the far-right website Dnevno.hr in April published a list of Serbian-owned shops and companies in the eastern town of Vukovar that it said Croats should boycott them, the Council issued a warning to Dnevno.hr. In spite of that, the website recently received a grant of 32,000 euro from the city of Zagreb.


The report was written by Sven Milekic for BIRN / Zagreb and first published on 22 August 2014 on BalkanInsight.com



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