Government backs changes to “muzzle law”
The caretaker government of Prime Minister Jan Fischer announced Wednesday that it had agreed changes relaxing the scope of the so-called “muzzle law.” The sweeping law, which came into force in April, threatens journalists and media companies with prison sentences of up to five years or heavy fines if they reveal information about individuals involved in criminal investigations. The new law was described as an attack on media freedom by international media watchdogs. An amendment put to the cabinet by human rights minister, Michael Kocáb, would introduce a public interest defence for releasing information. The amendment could take effect from January 1, 2010, if it is backed by parliament.