Goran Beus Richembergh.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ /dc

Parliamentary deputies of the Croatian People's Party (HNS) said on Wednesday that the protest outside the Electronic Media Council on Tuesday, organised against the Council's decision to revoke for three days the broadcasting licence of Zagreb's Z1 television channel, was an open attempt to threaten the rule of law and that the presence of Parliament Deputy Speaker Ivan Tepes at the protest was worrying.

The attendance of members of Parliament at rallies is not problematic, but their attendance at rallies that are aimed at exerting pressure on an independent regulator is not acceptable, said HNS MP Goran Beus Richembergh after a break in today's parliament session.

He recalled that the Electronic Media Council had suspended Z1's operating licence for three days in line with its duty to report to the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) "hate speech and fomenting of panic and unease among citizens."

"The alleged spontaneous protest was organised by the Zagreb-based Disabled Homeland War Veterans Association, and the manipulated, mostly veteran population, as well as the other protesters were led to exert unprecedented pressure on an independent state institution," said the HNS MP.

"Apart from being a case of manipulation, it was a forcible attempt to have hate speech vindicated and to vindicate unprecedented pressure on a religious community and its leading people, as well as an opportunity to insult Council chair Mirjana Rakic, a legendary Croatian journalist," said Beus Richembergh.

Radimir Cacic of the club of deputies of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) and the Reformists, said it was unacceptable to use the Council's decision to foment "an atmosphere of fear and division."

We all must feel bad when the target of threats is a person of such unquestionable professional reputation as Mirjana Rakic, said Cacic.

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