Z1 TV Channel Stops Broadcasting for a Day Due to Hate Speech in "Bujica"

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27.11.2018.

Osijek, 090517. Nastavak sudjenja na Ocinskom sudu novinaru Velimiru Bujancu kojega je zbog klevete tuzio Ranko Ostojic bivsi ministar unutarnjih poslova. Na fotografiji: Velimir Bujanec, Ranko Ostojic, Ivan Penava i odvjetnik Radan Kovac u sudnici. Foto: Vlado Kos / Cropix
Vlado Kos / HANZA MEDIA

Velimir Bujanec

A guest expressed claims about migrants as a diseased group, which may create a public illusion of a looming health threat.

On Monday, the Council for Electronic Media issued a ruling of one-day suspension of broadcasting concession to three TV channels — Z1, Slavonsko-brodska TV and Osječka TV — and 4-hour suspension to three others — Srce TV, Adriatic TV and the TV Jadran. The reason cited was hate speech in the "Bujica" show they all broadcast on November 5 this year.

According to the Council ruling, Z1, Slavonsko-brodska and Osječka are obliged to stop broadcasting on Monday, December 3, from 00:00 to 23:59, while Srce TV, Adriatic TV and TV Jadran have to stop on the same day between 18:59 and 22:59. The stricter penalty for the first three, stresses the Council, is due to the fact that they also reprised the broadcast in its original form. They have thus been slapped with a 24-hour suspension.

Viewers

A reminder: the center of the problem is Velimir Bujanec's show on the topic of the migrant crisis, which hosted Franko Čirko and Zoran Grgić as guests. The latter is a former member of the Parliamentary Council for Civilian Oversight of Security and Intelligence Agencies. In the show, Grgić, among other things, said that "Nigger and Arab thugs rape, kill and sow terror worldwide". He also argued that "those who come from the Mediterranean, Saharan and Sub-Saharan areas are mostly infected with hepatitis and AIDS and many pf them have tuberculosis". He recommended that the viewers avoid contact with migrants because "they deliberately spread AIDS among the people around them".

Incitement

— A guest in the TV studio expressed claims about migrants as a group infected with serious and infectious diseases (AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis) — said the Electronic Media Council in its release. — This may create [in the TV public] a pernicious illusion of a looming health threat, particularly in the view of the guest's claim that migrants spread the diseases intentionally. Neither the host nor the program editor distanced themselves from the hateful statement, except for noting it was 'somewhat radical', which cannot be considered an adequate warning to the guest about his speech being unacceptable and inappropriate.

The Council release also singles out a statement by host Bujanec about "savages who come from the East and who rape". The statement is said to direct the tone of the show to encourage hateful, discriminatory and demeaning discourse about migrants.

The Council further commented on the introductory section of the show featuring the "Testimony of T.L. - a Zagreb woman, victim of migrant robbery", judging that it incited hatred and violence against migrants as an identity group. The Council pointed out that "a host's distancing cannot be a mere formal tool misused in order to allow the continuation of inappropriate speech" and that "the broadcaster's apologies during and after the broadcast of disputed content cannot serve as the basis of evasion of editorial and legal responsibility, especially when the same show is reprised".

Legal loophole

According to the Electronic Media Act (Art. 64 Para. 4), broadcasters that have been issued warnings or misdemeanor penalties (via final court verdict) over the past 12 months due to a violation of provisions of the Act, or if they do not have a Media Rule Book, are ineligible for the annual funds disbursed by the Pluralism Fund, which is financed by 3 percent of the HRT subscription fee. In this case, however, the penalized broadcasters will remain eligible. Namely, the said article of the Act does not mention suspension of concession in this context — even though it is a more severe penalty than a warning.

It is obviously a loophole. The Electronic Media Council warned about it way back in the mandate of Mirjana Rakić as the Council president. We have learned that the current Council, presided by Josip Popovac, has reiterated that the Electronic Media Act needed to be amended and that provision should be made for financial penalties for hate speech.

We also hear that, given the nature of the guests' statements, the Council has forwarded a recording of the questionable show and the attendant material to the Office of the State Attorney (DORH) for possible further action.

Inačica na drugom jeziku / Alternate language version