Klaus signs bill banning publishing of wiretappings

The Czech president, Václav Klaus, signed on Friday a controversial bill barring the media from publishing or broadcasting police wiretaps. After the law enters into force in May, any journalist who publishes transcripts of phone calls intercepted by the police will face a fine of five million crowns or five years in jail.

Last week MPs from most parties in the Chamber of Deputies voted to overturn a Senate veto on the law. A number of Czech and international journalists’ groups, including Reporters without Borders and European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, have called on Mr Klaus not to sign the bill, which they say is an infringement on the freedom of the press.

Author: Jan Richter