When the two reporters, Živana Šušak Živković of the news site Dalmatinski portal, and Ivana Sivro of the TV channel N1, arrived at the church, they were welcome by a rain of blows from those attending the mass as well as by insults including from the priest himself. One of the reporters had her hand injured, while the other’s camera was hit.
The violence was condemned by the Interior Ministry and an investigation was opened targeting several persons.
The Association of Croatian Journalists said it regretted that the police had not been present on the spot. The mass was announced in advance despite the ban on gatherings. The lack of a police presence undoubtedly encouraged the worshippers to resort to violence, the Association added.
RSF calls on the Croatian authorities to ensure that the police provide effective protection to journalists when they serve the public interest by exposing violations of public health measures.
Croatia is ranked 64th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.