Czech Republic | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Freedom of the Press 2008

2008 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

18

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

7

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

7

Freedom of the press is constitutionally guaranteed, though the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms prohibits speech that might infringe on national security, individual rights, public health, or morality, or that may evoke hatred based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. Libel remains a criminal offense, but prosecutions are rare. The Press Law provides a sound basis for independent journalism, and media protections have been bolstered by Constitutional Court and other institutional rulings. No major changes took place in 2007, though top government officials did call for stricter regulation of the media. Media freedom advocates have noted a growing number of articles written to serve the needs of commercial interests. Although press freedom has long been secure in the Czech Republic, observers continue to raise concerns about the quality and depth of reporting, as well as weak accountability among the tabloids in particular.

Most electronic and print media outlets are privately owned, and they generally convey diverse views without fear of government or partisan pressure. Media advocates point out that while public media are widely respected, their financial sustainability has been undermined by tighter control of public funds and increasing restrictions on advertising. As a result, there has been a gradual migration of revenue from public-sector media to commercial outlets in recent years. The internet continues to develop rapidly, with some 50 percent of the population enjoying regular and unrestricted access.