Croatian newspaper Nacional lost a libel lawsuit filed by politician Tomislav Karamarko over an interview last year claiming he was an “informer for the Yugoslav intelligence service,” Balkan Insight reported. The claim came in the newspaper’s interview with Josip Manolic, who was prime minister of Croatia from 1990 to 1991.
Karamarko is the First Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia and president of political party the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). Nacional is an independent weekly newspaper based in Zagreb, according to World Newspapers.
Karamarko sued Nacional over its June 2015 interview with former Yugoslav official Josip Manolic, in which Manolic said Karamarko was an “associate” of the Yugoslav secret services, Balkan Insight, a news site focused on the Western Balkans,reported.
As a result of the court ruling, Nacional must pay Karamarko 9,100 Euros (about $10,000 U.S.) and unpublish the article.
Berislav Jelinic, the editor of Nacional, told iMediaEthics by e-mail the paper plans to appeal and criticized the ruling.
‘The sentence is absurd and dangerous, dangerous for the functioning of media in Croatia, not only for the functioning of Nacional,” Jelinic said in a statement he sent to iMediaEthics. “Prescribing that someone, before publishing an interview, has to contact everyone who is mentioned in that interview is contrary to the Croatian Law on Media.”
Jelinic questioned how news outlets could possibly comply if an interview is conducted on television. “If an interview should be done as judge Marko Rus thinks, what would happen if the interview was done on TV? Stop the cameras and let us call Karamarko?” he asked.
iMediaEthics has written to Karamarko’s political party and Karamarko’s lawyer for further comment about the case.