Czech government refuses to say which pro-Russian websites were shutdown and why

There appears to be confusion about why there was a mass blocking of a number of Czech websites accused of being pro-Russia

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Jan Cibulka
Ivan Bartos, co-leader of a center-left coalition formed from the liberal Pirate Party and STAN, a group of mayors and independent candidates, speaks to the media after voting during parliamentary elections at a polling station in Usti and Labem, Czech Republic, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

One month after the blocking of a number of websites that sympathized with Russia, their official list and the specific reasons for their blocking remain unknown. There are also conflicting statements from the Czech governing coalition as to whether they will change legislation over these actions, which some, particularly on the right, have described as a severe restriction on freedom of speech.

While Minister of Justice Pavel Blažek stated that the government had agreed on creating a new law, the minister for regional development and deputy prime minister for digitization, Ivan Bartoš, said to the iROZHLAS.cz news outlet that he knew nothing about this intention.

Previously, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan has also spoken about unifying the approach of state authorities to hate speech. Therefore, the iROZHLAS.cz server sent questions to both Rakušan and Bartoš.

While Rakušan did not respond even a week after receiving the question, according to Bartoš, no new legislation is planned.

However, Justice Minister Pavel Blažek confirmed the preparation of a new law in an interview with the SeznamZprávy news outlet.

“We will make sure not to harm freedom of speech. In any case, we must prevent a foreign state from spreading alarming news and disinforming our population,” said Blažek, outlining that the National Security Authority would have the final say.

Recently, Czechia indicated it may prosecute those who express support for Russia due to the war in Ukraine.

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