Fiala: Shutting down disinformation websites is only a temporary measure

The Czech government has called for the shutdown of disinformation websites in its generally worded resolution and is grateful to NGOs and commercial companies for shutting down these disinformation websites. However, it is clear to the government that shutting down the sites is only a temporary measure. This was stated by Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) in response to a written interpellation by ANO MP Patrik Nacher.

In his interpellation, Nacher referred to the shutting down of various servers and said it was not clear on what basis this was being done. This is the first written interpellation on the parliamentary website this term. It is expected to be taken up by MPs next Thursday morning at the resumption of the regular June sitting.

The Prime Minister’s reply to the written question is dated May 12. However, about two weeks later, on May 25, the internet association CZ.NIC unblocked seven disinformation websites whose .cz domains it had made inaccessible on February 25 connected to the war in Ukraine. The reason given was that these sites no longer posed a threat. The response appeared on the parliament’s website on Monday.

Fiala says that the European Council ordered the Russian media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik shutdown. The prime minister said the decision to switch off and block specific websites specifically operating on our territory was made by NGOs and commercial companies based on assessing the possibilities arising from the business relations they have with the operators of the disinformation websites in question.

Aeronet.cz is still down

On the same day, the CZ.NIC association blocked the website Aeronet.cz, Protiproud.cz, Ceskobezcenzury.cz, Voxpopuliblog.cz, Prvnizpravy.cz, Czechfreepress.cz, Exanpro.cz and Skrytapravda.cz. Seven of them were unblocked at the end of May, except for Aeronet, which, according to the association, does not have the correct data on the holder in the register.

According to the association, the main aim of blocking the sites during the Russian Federation’s aggression was to limit the spread of false and misleading information in the online space that sought to relativize, justify or approve of the aggression. Vilém Sládek, a spokesman for the association, said at the end of May that these websites no longer posed a threat from this point of view.

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