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Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
October 29, 2001


(Washington) - United States Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) issued the following statement regarding media developments in the Czech Republic:

“I am alarmed by reports that all 17 members of the Czech cabinet have announced their intention to have criminal charges brought against Petr Holub, chief editor of the weekly Respekt, because of his writings about corruption in the Czech Republic.”

“Using criminal charges against journalists to punish them for their writings is simply inconsistent with OSCE standards that the Czech Republic has freely undertaken. Moreover, it is especially important that issues of important public concern, such as corruption, be openly debated and discussed. Even threatening to bring criminal charges chills free speech.”

“I hope cooler heads will prevail regarding this matter. As I have said before, I hope the Czech Republic will repeal its criminal defamation law altogether, consistent with the recommendations of the OSCE Freedom of the Media to all OSCE participating States.”

Media Contact: Ben Anderson
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Czech Republic


Freedom of the Media


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