This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'European elections 2019 and social media'.


Ref. Ares(2018)3317693 - 22/06/2018
Answers from Croatia 
 
Event on Democratic Participation and Electoral Matters 
 
25-26 April 2018 
 
 
Questions to Member States' authorities 
 
 
1.  Has  your  country  introduced  any  measures  governing  the  use  of  media  and  social 
media in the context of election campaigns? These measures may include, but not be 
limited to: 
i.  the observance of election silence period,  
ii.  prohibition of disinformation (fake news) 
iii.  equal representation of candidates 
iv.  financial  rules  on  campaigning  and  especially  advertising  limitations, 
awareness campaigns or bypassing the established financial limits.  
If  so,  please  briefly  list  such  measures  and  explain  possible  exemptions  for  example 
for  social  media.  If  not,  is  your  country  currently  considering  introducing  such 
measures in the future and for which media? 
 
2.  Is  there  any  existing  case  law  in  your  country  or  relevant  opinions  of  the  electoral 
commission regarding the use of media, and of social media platforms, during election 
period? If so, please provide an overview. 
 
3.  Has your country introduced any transparency or disclosure requirements for political 
entities  advertising  online  in  general  and  social  media  in  particular?  Do  political 
digital  ads  have  to  be  explicitly  labelled  with  an  imprint?  Does  the  funding  and 
provenance of these ads have to be clearly displayed?   
 
4.  In  which  way  do  you  monitor  the  application  of  relevant  provisions  of  national 
election  laws  or  other  above  mentioned  measures?  Which  authority  covers  political 
ads (i.e. advertising authority or other authorities)? Have you started to develop online 
archives of political adverts? 
 
5.  Would you consider a possible role for National Statisticians to play in formal fact 
checking during elections, at least of certain materials where statistical data is at the 
core?  
 
6.  Given  the  importance  of  freedom  of  expression  in  election  campaigning  and  the 
democratic  process,  what  is  in  your  view  the  balance  between  formal  regulation  and 
self-regulation? 

 
7.  The  use  of  third  party  data  sources  by  political  parties  is  increasing  significantly  - 
from companies such as Experian, Axiom etc.  These data sources are then linked to 
electoral  registers.   There  are  significant  issues  around  transparency  and  whether  the 
public  are  aware  of  this.   What  in  your  view  can  be  done  to  make  the  public  more 
aware of how data is used in campaigning? 
 
8.  Has  your  national  data  protection  authority  issued  guidance  on  personal  data 
processing,  including  with  regards  to  social  media,  in  the  context  of  election 
campaigns? 
 
9.  Does  the  electoral  commission  in  your  country  have  any  specific  collaboration  with 
data  protection  authorities  with  regard  to  the  issues  discussed  above?  Is  this 
collaboration formalised in any way (e.g. through a Memorandum of Understanding or 
similar)?  
 
 

ANSWERS: 
1.  The provision of Article 21 of the Law on the Election of the Members of the 
European Parliament in the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette 92/10, 23/13 and 
143/13) regulates some of the issues of using media in the context of electoral 
campaigns, especially questions of advertising: "The election campaign begins on the 
day of publication of the legitimately proposed lists and ends 24 hours before the day 
of the election. On the day of the election until the closing of the polling stations, as 
well as 24 hours before the day of the elections, any election campaign, the 
publication of the evaluation of election results, as well as the publication of previous, 
unofficial election results, publication of photographs in the media, statements and 
interviews of the list holders, candidates, and mentioning their statements or written 
works is forbidden. "  
Furthermore, Article 22 of the same Law states: "At the time of the electoral 
campaign, all political parties that have proposed candidate lists and candidate lists of 
candidates of an electoral group have the right to stand for election and electoral 
campaign under equal conditions. All means of public communication shall be such as 
to enable the exercise of the rights of political parties and candidates of the candidate 
lists of voters' groups, in accordance with the Rules on Operation of Electronic Media 
with National Concession in the Republic of Croatia during Election Promotion. " 
The Law on Election of Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of 
Croatia provided for misdemeanour sanctions for the violation of electoral silence, not 
only for election candidates, but also for other natural and legal persons and 
responsible persons in a legal person. 
Regarding the issue of the campaign's financial rules, we point out that the provisions 
of the Act on Financing Political Activities and Election Promotions (Official Gazette 
No. 24/11, 61/11, 27/13, 2/14, 96/16 and 70/17) regulate issues related to sources of 
funding of election subjects, regular annual financing, indirect financial support, 
membership fees and voluntary contributions (donations), grants limitations, election 
promotion financing (sources of funding for election promotion, financing from own 
resources, financing from grants, constraint on electoral campaign costs, limitation of 
the total amount of election promotion costs), the cost of electoral campaign 
expenditures from the state budget and the budget of local and regional self-
government units (JLP), ban on financing and facilitation, disclosure of donation data 
election campaign costs, oversight of financial affairs of election subjects, and issues 
related to audit of financial statements and financial operations, oversight of election 
campaign financing, administrative sanction and misdemeanor provision (the 
imposition of fines). All problematic situations and problems arising from the current 
provisions are planned to be improved when the new Act on Financing Political 
Activities and Electoral Advertising will be drafted. 
With regard to media advertising, the Law on Financing of Political Activities and 
Electoral Advertising stipulates that the electoral constituents are obliged to publicly 

publish the price and the amount of the discounted price for media advertising of 
electoral advertising, and that the subjects providing media advertising of election 
promotion are obliged to submit to the State to the Electoral Commission the price list 
of the advertising services and publish it on its web site. In this way, it is possible to 
check whether the providers of media advertising of election promotions provide these 
services to all electoral participants under the same conditions. 
2. The State Election Commission of the Republic of Croatia, within its sphere of 
activity, cares about the legal preparation and implementation of the elections, 
supervises the regularity of election promotion, oversees the financing of electoral 
campaign and, in accordance with its scope of activity, develops opinions, answers to 
inquiries and provides inter alia instructions on media monitoring and their role in the 
electoral process, in accordance with the provisions of the Election Law of the 
Members of the European Parliament in the Republic of Croatia and the Act on the 
State Election Commission. Also, we have to state that we do not have information 
regarding court practice in this area. 
The State Election Commission in the conduct of the election announcements warns 
electoral constituencies to refrain from violating electoral silence also on social 
networks. 
 
3. Regarding transparency issues, for example, we state that the provisions of Article 
22 of the Election Law of the Members of the European Parliament in the Republic of 
Croatia (Narodne novine, Nos. 92/10, 23/13 and 143/13) stipulates that: "At the time 
of electoral campaign, all political parties that have proposed candidate lists and 
candidates for the candidate list of voter groups have the right to make statements and 
electoral promotion under equal conditions. All means of public communication shall 
be such as to enable the exercise of the rights of political parties and candidates of the 
candidate lists of voter groups, in accordance with the Rules on Operation of 
Electronic Media with National Concession in the Republic of Croatia during Election 
Promotion. Pursuant to these provisions it can be said that certain legal provisions 
have contributed to the transparent exercise of the rights of all political actors as well 
as that the provisions of the Act on Financing Political Activities and Electoral 
Publicity also greatly contributed to the transparent election promotion process with 
special emphasis on transparent funding of the same. 
The provision of Article 38 Paragraph 1 of the Act on Financing Political Activities 
and Electoral Advertising stipulates that the State Election Commission's report on 
monitoring compliance with the provisions of the Act on Financing Political Activities 
and Electoral Advertising related to Election Promotion shall be published on the State 
Election Commission's website within 60 days of the publication of the final official 
results of the election.  

Article 39, Paragraph 3 of the Law on Financing Political Activities and Electoral 
Advertising stipulates that political parties, holders of the independent lists, ie holders 
of the list of voter groups and candidates (ie, electoral constituents), publish financial 
reports on the financing of the electoral campaign on their web pages, or on the 
websites of the political party that proposed the candidate or in the daily press within 
15 days of the deadline for submitting the financial statements to the State Election 
Commission. 
 
4. Within the scope of the Ministry of Public Administration's administration 
responsibilities there is no conducting of online political archive or archives, but with 
regard to the question of the application of the relevant provisions of the national 
electoral laws, we emphasize that the provisions of each law prescribe exactly who 
supervises the implementation of the law. For example, oversight over the 
implementation of the Law on Financing of Political Activities and Electoral 
Advertising in the part related to the financing of electoral campaign is conducted by 
the State Election Commission of the Republic of Croatia, which as a permanent and 
independent body under Article 37 of the Law on Financing Political Activities and 
Electoral Advertising, supervises based on the documentation submitted by the 
political parties, the holders of the independent lists or the listener of the list of voters 
and candidates, through the relevant bodies and services, to check whether the 
amounts of the funds used correspond to the amounts received in the financial 
statements and whether the data specified in these reports is accurate . 
We also emphasize that the State Election Commission is a permanent and 
independent state body that carries out its activities in accordance with the Act on the 
State Election Commission of the Republic of Croatia and the laws governing the 
election of MPs to the Croatian Parliament, the election of the President of the 
Republic of Croatia, the election of members of the representative bodies of the local 
units regional and local self-government units, election of municipal mayors, mayors, 
prefects and mayors of the City of Zagreb, election of members of councils and 
representatives of national minorities in local and regional self-government units, 
implementation of a state, local and advisory referendum as well as taking care of 
legal preparing and implementing elections for members of the European Parliament 
 
5. In the Republic of Croatia statistical matters are dealt with by the Central Bureau of 
Statistics within its scope of competence under Article 34 of the Law on Organization 
and Scope of Ministries and Other Central Government Bodies (Narodne novine, Nos. 
93/16 and 104/16) The State Election Commission of the Republic of Croatia, within 
the scope of its mandate prescribed by the Act on the State Election Commission of 
the Republic of Croatia (Narodne novine, Nos. 44/06 and 19/07), conducts certain 
statistical surveys related to electoral processes, campaigns, elections. to say that in the 
Republic of Croatia there are certain statistical surveys related to electoral processes, 

that is, the post-election period, but the Ministry of Administration does not have any 
concrete data from other bodies about it. 
Upon completion of the elections, the State Election Commission publishes statistical 
data relating to electoral constituencies (in the phase of candidacy - age, gender of 
candidates, proponents, phase of the outcome - age, sex of candidates, proponents etc.) 
6. The balance between formal regulation and self-regulation might be achieved if all 
electoral process actors, on the one hand, adhere to the regulations governing the 
electoral process, and on the other hand have in mind the fundamental values laid 
down in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and in compliance with the 
provisions of those regulations that regulate data protection at the EU level, or at the 
level of national regulations dealing with data protection issues. Since the electoral 
process is of great importance to each country, these issues are politically very 
sensitive and it is difficult to find a formula that would give an answer on how to 
balance the formal regulation and self-regulation. 
 
7. Election laws and the Law on Financing Political Activities and Election 
Campaigning give no mandate to the State Election Commission, nor any given tools 
that would allow control of the described way of using the data. 
For its part, the State Election Commission pays special attention to protecting the 
personal information of electoral constituents in the elections - whether it be electoral 
constituents, members of electoral bodies, observers, etc. The redesign of the State 
Election Commission web site by the end of 2017 has enabled in the column of the 
Election Archive, the published information about the electoral constituents is kept 
permanently, without mentioning personal data, in order to prevent their misuse. 
 8. and 9.  
At the beginning of 2018, the State Election Commission requested an opinion of the 
Personal Data Protection Agency regarding the protection of personal data in electoral 
proceedings and a working meeting was held in connection with that mentioned 
above. The State Election Commission will continue to resolve all controversial or 
open issues regarding the data protection issues in cooperation with the Personal Data 
Protection Agency, regardless of the fact that this cooperation is not "formalized".