Position of the Democratic Club No. 44 - On amendments to the criminal law and other rulings in the area of the dissemination of information
On April 1, 2009 law No. 52/2009 came into effect. It amends some of the existing laws especially in the area of criminal legislation. The new law calls for new responsibilities in the area of making public information about criminal proceedings and about the people involved. In comparison with the previous amendments, the new law especially forbids making public any information that could lead to identification of the victim. It also forbids publication of any information obtained through an order for or actual eavesdropping. Strict sanctions are set for a breach of these prohibitions.
We understand that information not allowed to be made public by this law could be manipulated and thus create an atmosphere of abhorrence even against people who may be later declared innocent by the courts. The publication of the names of victims could create problems for these people. Still, we believe that, on the whole, the consequences of this law will be negative, because it prevents publication of information about various criminal activities, especially in the cases of public corruption, which represent one of the major dangers to the democratic development of the Czech Republic. At the same time we are afraid that the new law limits a constitutionally guaranteed right to inform and to be informed.
The Democratic Club considers it to be desirable that the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic takes a position on the constitutionality of this law, or at least some parts of the law. For this reason we recommend that the members of the Czech legislature, who do not support the law, file a complaint with the court.Prague, May 11, 2009
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