Twitter has begun to block some fake news and hate speech websites in the Czech Republic

8. 6. 2018

čas čtení 3 minuty
Update: Overnight, evidently under pressure from the alt-right servers, Twitter stopped blocking a selection of hate speech and fake news servers in the Czech Republic

It is now impossible to publish links to articles from the Czech fake news and hate speech websites Aeronet, AC24 and Parlamentní listy on Twitter. The first two are Czech language pro-Russian disinformation websites, the third one, Parlamentní listy, is the Czech equivalent of Breitbart News. Apart from fake news, it disseminates rabid xenophobia and islamophobia thus infringing a number of articles of the Czech Criminal Code - but the Czech police does not investigate and the Czech judiciary does not prosecute.

More info:

A Czech website which is in the forefront of spreading anti-refugee hatred

A new departure: Czech Breitbart-like website whips up hatred against a courageous journalist

Josef Šlerka, a Czech social networks specialist, has tweeted: "Parlamentní listy is a cesspit. However, it is really stupid of Twitter to block it."

On the other hand, Jan Čulík, Glasgow University Czech specialist and editor-in-chief of Britské listy, is of the opinion that it was high time to show that democracy is not a "free for all" and that freedom of speech does not give any individuals the right to vilify minorities and to disorientate and manipulate the public by lies.

Šlerka has provided a full list of Czech hate speech and fake news websites which Twitter seems to block:

Jiří Ovčáček, the official spokesperson of the Czech islamophobic, populist president Miloš Zeman, threatens that he will complain to Twitter in an official letter against this "totalitarian practice".

"Ridiculous insult to call it that, particularly in a country that suffered through real totalitarianism, "says Andrew Stroehlein, Human Rights Watch media director, reacting to Mr Ovčáček's statements.  Mr Stroehlein  continues: "Also, private companies like Twitter have considerable discretion to set the rules for their services. International obligations to uphold free speech protections and not censor people apply to state actors, not private companies. If Twitter wants to restrict hate speech and incitement, It's perfectly free to do so."

Ovčáček is in the habit of disseminating links from the hate speech Parlamentní listy website and he has expressed his extreme frustration when he found out that he can no longer do this. He had to start using Facebook instead:

Jiří Ovčáček continued railing against Twitter:

"Contemporary Czech fascists of course welcome the introduction of censhorship on Twitter. It is high time that genuine democrats should vociferously and strongly fight against this cult of hatred. Freedom is exceptionally threatened!"



Obsah vydání | 8. 6. 2018