Expert: Most Czech lawmakers who employ disinformation don’t believe it

Miloš Gregor

Czech legislators are spreading disinformation on the floor of Parliament – including those from government parties. So says political scientist Miloš Gregor, who is currently also an advisor on this subject to Prime Minister Petr Fiala. I asked him what kind of disinformation was being heard in lawmakers’ debates.

“We often hear that approval of marriage for homosexual couples would somehow increase the numbers of paedophiles, or perhaps ease their access to children, which is absolute nonsense.

“In the same way, some lobby groups try to equate gay marriage with surrogacy, which is not covered by the bill. So I would say the debate on homosexual marriage, whose bill is in Parliament right now, is mainly connected to these two topics.”

Can you give us some examples of lawmakers from government parties who are also coming out with disinformation type talking points in Parliament?

“I would rather not, but if we follow the discussions in the Senate or the Chamber of Deputies you can see that some of them just use these arguments to explain their position on the bill.

“Usually they are from the more conservative political parties.”

Czech Chamber of Deputies | Photo: Zuzana Jarolímková,

But is it surprising that national level politicians are also vulnerable to disinformation, given that it seems to be impact large parts of Czech society in general?

“I would say that some politicians believe this disinformation, but I wouldn’t say that it’s most of them.

“It’s necessary to draw attention to this topic and to correct the nonsense that’s circulating in the information sphere.

“But I wouldn’t paint the devil on the wall – even politicians are only human and all groups in society are represented among them.

“So I believe that it still makes sense to challenge disinformation and to try to explain the position of politicians – and let people see whether their arguments are valid or are based on some nonsense.”

One senator from the Mayors senators group said that if Czechia ratified the Istanbul Convention it could lead to the banning of Easter traditions like “whipping” girls, which seems rather outlandish. I wonder, if even government party lawmakers are spreading this kind of disinformation, is there any hope of combatting or containing it in any way?

Easter traditions | Photo: Andrea Poláková,  Czech Radio

“I’m still optimistic on this question, despite the disinformation we’re talking about.

“It’s mainly the role of the media, of the whole society: if we are interested in the topic and pay attention to what politicians say about issues, it’s on us as voters to decide whether or not we want to vote for these politicians again next time.

“I can say that many NGOs or initiatives have been raising the question of the politicians running in the Senate elections this autumn – and shining a light on their arguments in the Senate.

“So hopefully if these issues are important to voters they will take into account these statements when they’re deciding who to vote for.”

Author: Ian Willoughby
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