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Czech law, Czech legal news

City council-run newspapers – duty to publish an opposition or dissenting opinion

The Press Act, Act No. 46/2000 Coll. was amended to include the issue of the City Council-run newspapers. The aim of the amendment is to ensure the impartial and accurate information given by the local authorities to public. The local authority use newspapers (almost every city has their own magazine or newsletter) as a means for informing public about the achieved success of the local government and proposals for the next period of time. These  newspapers in form of magazine or simple newsletters are funded by the state.

What the amendment brings is the duty of the local authority to provide a space in the council new

The valid Press act allows everybody who is injured by the untrue or misleading information to require the press to publish his or her reply – right to reply S 10 or subsequent statement – S 11. If this highly formal demand: in written form, within 30 days of the article that contains misleading or untrue information or information on criminal, misdemeanor or administrative infringement proceduresspapers for the opposition member of the local authority (municipality or region) to express the dissent opinion.

is not satisfied, the person is entitled to bring a claim within 15 days after the period in which the publisher was 

obliged to publish the reply or subsequent statement (within 8 days after the demand was delivered). This provision did not cover the council newspapers, what the amendment changes and allows the opposition or dissenting member of local authority to require the space for his or her opinion and in case the newspaper does not publish this opinion within 3 months, to bring a claim.

It only regulates the press run by municipal authority, district authority and capital city – Prague with its city districts.

The right to reply only covers the statement of the facts, not like for example in France statement of opinion. The amendment’s aim is to produce balanced and accurate council-run newspaper content, however allowing to react also on statement of opinion could be regarded as potential discrepancy with the freedom of expression. However, if the council newspaper would not agree with publishing the dissenting opinion, the dispute will be decided by the court.

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About ondrejovae

Czech Attorney/Barrister located in Prague with specialization in media law and protection of personal rights

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