What rules govern advertising on the internet?

Advertising on the internet is governed by the legislation regulating product and service advertising in general.

There are also some self-regulating acts containing practicable guidelines applicable to online marketing.


How is online advertising defined? Could online editorial content be caught by the rules governing advertising?

Regardless of the medium, advertising is defined as any announcement in any form, given by anybody in the field of their profession or business, which is focused on advertising with the intention of enhancing the sale of a product or service.

Pursuant to the Media Act, an advertisement is defined as paid information the publication of which is ordered by a legal or natural person with the intention to promote turnover, attract business partners or create a good reputation or a good name in the public. An advertisement may not be such as to create an impression with the viewers, listeners or readers that it is about the programme contents of the media.

Misleading advertising

Are there rules against misleading online advertising?

Misleading advertising is explicitly prohibited by the provisions of the Inadmissible Advertising Act, regardless of the media through which such advertising is performed.

The Consumer Protection Act also prohibits misleading advertising, and defined such activities as misleading business practice.

The law envisages the possibility for the persons bearing a justified interest to initiate court proceedings against the natural or legal person acting on the market within the framework of its activity due to doubt of unfair business practice.


Are there any products or services that may not be advertised on the internet?

Special legislation and subordinate legislation prohibit advertising certain products. Among others, it is prohibited to advertise tobacco products, prescription drugs and drugs which have not been approved on the market of the Republic of Croatia, narcotics and new psychoactive substances and their manufacturing, prescription-only veterinary and medicinal products, weapons and ammunition, pyrotechnics, alcohol and alcoholic drinks except the advertising of beer and wine with protected designation of origin or protected geographical indication, fruit wines etc.

Hosting liability

What is the liability of content providers and parties that merely host the content, such as ISPs? Can any other parties be liable?

If advertising regulations are violated, primarily content providers are liable.

Internet service providers (ISPs) will not be considered liable for the content of a sent email that has been submitted to them or its sending provided that:

  • they did not initiate the transmission;
  • they did not choose the data or documents that are being transmitted;
  • they did not exclude or change the data contained in the message or document; and
  • they did not choose the transmission user.

In matters governed by the Media Act, exclusively the advertiser is responsible for the content of advertising messages in electronic publications.