The Czech right-wing party Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) is criticizing the blocking of eight websites that the Czech government has targeted for alleged disinformation. The CZ.NIC association, in consultation with the Czechia’s security services, pushed for the sites to be closed. However, the SPD party, known for its strong anti-immigration, nationalist stance, considers the closure to be censorship.
Party members also rejected the government supplying weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, but at the same time, the party condemns Russia’s invasion of the country. According to the SPD, the weapon supplies are aimed against efforts to negotiate peace with Russia.
News websites closed
The reason behind the websites being shutdown was that they presented an alleged threat to Czech national security. The shuttered websites include Aeronet.cz, Czechfreepress.cz or Protiproud.cz, which were run by Petr Hájek, former spokesman of Czech ex-president Václav Klaus.
There has been no evidence presented as of yet that the sites are supported or financed by Russia in any manner, but when the sites did address the topic of Russia, they often took a pro-Russia or sympathetic stance on a range of issues, putting them at odds with the current Czech government, especially since the invasion of Ukraine.
Hungary will neither ship nor allow weapons transits to Ukraine
The country is concerned for the safety of the Hungarian minority living in Ukraine
According to SPD leader Tomio Okamura, some members of his party also published on the websites that were shutdown. He said that the termination of the websites represented a threat to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. He argues that, according to the charter, freedom of expression can only be restricted by the law if it is necessary for the protection of rights and freedoms, state security, public safety, the protection of public health, and morals.
“This right cannot be restricted by an interest association of legal entities. They can’t carry out these steps arbitrarily in consultation with the government. These can only be done by the state in exceptional cases,” Okamura said.
Criticism of Czech weapon supplies to Ukraine
SPD called for peace and negotiations to be carried out to end, and also criticizes the supply of military equipment to Ukraine.
“SPD condemns the Russian Federation’s invasion and aggression against Ukraine. We call on the representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine to stop combat operations immediately and to continue peace talks. In this situation, we reject allowing Czechia to supply weapons and ammunition to Ukraine because it means pouring fuel on the fire,” deputy Jaroslav Bašta, former minister and later ambassador to Russia and Ukraine, quoted from the party’s resolution.
Over the weekend, the government approved the supply of weapons for 188 million korunas (€7.3 million) and other unspecified military material for 400 million korunas (€15.5 million).
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) hold a similar view as SPD. According to the communists, weapons do not solve the problem, but on the contrary, they escalate it more.
“If we send weapons, it means more suffering, we can hit a child or a woman. For me, weapons are something that can kill,” KSČM head Kateřina Konečná told CNN Prima News broadcast.
The Czech governing parties and many other politicians take an opposite stance.
“It would be pointless to supply Ukraine with parade sticks. The Ukrainians need to defend themselves, but they have nothing. They stand against the tanks with their empty hands. We can give them candy, but it doesn’t work. When the aggressor knows that you can defend yourself, he will run away,” an independent senator, Pavel Fischer, said.