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List of Relevant Laws Impacting Free Speech (Czech Republic) (2015-2022)


Crime of Supporting and Promoting Terrorism, according to Section  312e paragraph 1, 4 letter a) of Act No. 40/2009 Coll., the Criminal Code,[1] introduced into the Criminal Code by Amendment No. 455/2016 Coll., effective as of 1 February 2017, applies to cases in which the perpetrator publicly approves of a terrorist offense committed or publicly praises its perpetrators, for which can be punished by imprisonment in length from 5 to 15 years. This provision unfortunately applies to participants of internet discussions as well, there are already known cases of people sentenced on its basis – fortunately, the Czech courts used the possibility of an extraordinary reduction of the sentence and imposed suspended sentences (i. e. without imprisonment, “only” with the imposition of several years of probation).

Crime of Dissemination of works promoting movements aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms in Section 403a of the Criminal Code, added by  Amendment No. 220/2021 Coll., effective from 1 January 2022. Spreading of such works is now punishable by criminal law, unless it is for education, research, art, reporting on current or historical events, or similar purposes (before this amendment, only active promotion of those movements was criminalized).

Draft of the Law on Restricting the Dissemination of Content that Threatens National Security Online from 27 September 2022. If this law were to be enacted, it would allow state authorities to block websites containing disinformation that „would be able to threaten the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or democratic foundations of the Czech Republic or to significantly endanger the internal order and security of the Czech Republic, especially if it is created or disseminated by a person or state to which international sanctions apply under a special legal regulation, or by an entity under the control of such a person or state, or if it substantially corresponds with such content.“

Implementation of Regulation (EU) 2021/784 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2021, on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online, which was implemented by law No. 67/2023 Coll., on certain measures against the dissemination of terrorist content online,[2]  which allows the police to order the removal of terrorist content or to prevent access to it.

Non-Legislative Developments

Ombudsman’s press release dated 3rd April 2018, raising awareness of the rise of hate speech online, followed by the Ombudsman’s Recommendation on hate speech on the Internet of 27 January 2020, which describes a series of recommendations for state authorities aimed at strengthening the fight against hate speech and prejudicial hatred in general.

Action Plan to Counter Disinformation of 15 November 2022, prepared by the Government Commissioner for Media and Disinformation, containing – among other things – recommendations to raise state capacities to counter disinformation, strengthen capacities for monitoring disinformation, strengthen strategic communication aimed at reducing the impact of disinformation on society, enactment of a new law that would allow state authorities to block disinformation websites and the introduction new criminal offense punishing the deliberate dissemination of disinformation aimed at undermining the democratic character of the state or the security interests of the state.

Analysis of the Czech Republic’s Preparedness to Counter a Serious Wave of Disinformation, approved by the Czech Government on 15 February 2023.[3] This analysis was prepared in response to the crises of the previous years (Covid-19, Russian invasion of Ukraine), and according to its conclusions, capacities of the Czech Republic to face a serious disinformation wave is not sufficient, therefore the Analysis recommends to také measures both in the field of prevention and defense. Prevention should be about strengthening the natural defense mechanisms of society through the rigorous protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and transparency of democratic processes, promoting media literacy, involvement of civil society in political processes, etc. In the area of defense, the analysis recommends, in general terms, strengthening organizational, personnel, procedural, legal, and other instruments and capacities that would be effective in responding to an attack against the Czech Republic led by a serious wave of disinformation.


Article regarding the blocking of a recording of a performance promoting the alternative treatment of Covid-19 in March 2020 following a request of the Centre against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats (subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior).

Article about the blocking of websites spreading disinformation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine based on a letter containing request of the National Cyber-Force Center dated 25 February 2022, and about the ongoing court case dealing with the (il)legality of this action initiated by two NGOs, Institute H21 and Open Society.

[1] Unfortunately, the website does not allow creating hyperlinks for individual provisions of the law, therefore the link redirects to the Criminal Code as a whole – this applies to other legislation as well.

[2] Although this law was not adopted until 2023, it is based on an earlier EU regulation and was already in the preparation stage in 2022 and therefore falls within the 2015-2022 timeframe.

[3] Considering the fact that work commenced as early as 2022 we consider this document to fall within the 2015-2022 timeframe.

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