After attacking a journalist with a paid ad on Facebook, the Živi Zid party said on Friday it supported a free press.
Živi Zid backed a free press but said it worked well with most media outlets with one exception: "media that represent the interests of the distraint mafia", alluding to the owners of Jutarnji list, the Hanza Media Group, which is directly linked to the most powerful law firm in the country. Živi Zid lashed out earlier this week against Jutarnji list reporter Željka Godeč, who wrote about the lack of transparency in the party’s finances. Godeč used data from the state auditor's report to write her story. Despite her factual reporting, Živi zid responded to the story by calling it fake news in a paid ad.
Živi Zid leader, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, distanced himself on Friday from remarks made by his party colleague, Ivan Pernar, a man known for his eccentric ideas and wild outbursts. He recently suggested that the only needed treatment to stave off the flu were megadoses of vitamin C. A few days later, he reported to be recovering from influenza. In the past, Pernar had called reporters “Hitler's pupils” and “useful idiots”. Sinčić also dismissed the concept of “illiberal democracy”, a concept voiced by another colleague, Dominik Vuketić during a recent TV program.
"I have to say, this is completely new to me. We've never discussed this concept. Our position is in favor of direct democracy and I do not support his idea,” Sinčić told reporters.
During that same TV program, the SDP's Peđa Grbin described Živi Zid's ideas as fascist. Now, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has commented on the incident.
"I think this is a good opportunity for everyone to open their eyes when it comes to these political movements. The tendency for these kinds of parties, who have no serious policy platform and don't know what they want, is to have a destructive approach to everything,” Pleknović said.
Živi zid rose to popularity as champions of the disenfranchised, an activist movement helping tenants, often illegal ones, fight eviction. Since forming a political party, they have risen to the rank of the third most popular party in the country, despite lacking a coherent policy platform and often supporting ideas considered radical on both the left and right. As the Social Democrats lose support, disillusioned voters have increasingly looked to a third party to fill that void. Živi Zid appears to have attracted a good number of those voters. They are currently polling a 13 percent, just three points behind the Social Democrats.