With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation due to come into force on May 25th individual member states are scrambling to comply with the new directive. The Czech Republic has a lot of catching up to do – national data protection laws supplementing the GDPR are still not in place and a flash poll has revealed that a fifth of Czech firms are unaware of the existence of the new EU data protection rules.
A few weeks ago the Czech Republic joined “Refugees Welcome International ” a platform that was founded in November 2014 to connect refugees with locals who are willing to share their living space and on a day-to-day basis help refugees feel at home in their new country. I spoke to Tomáš Jungwirth, one of the organizers of the project in the Czech Republic, about how it will work and what he hopes to achieve in a country that is not perceived as being overly friendly to migrants.
As controller of BBC World Service English, Mary Hockaday is one of the most senior executives at the globe’s biggest radio station. When she was in Prague last week for a recording of the debate show World Questions, I asked Hockaday about various aspects of the World Service’s role and today’s media landscape. But the conversation began with her years here in the Czech capital in the early 1990s, when she was the BBC’s correspondent in the city.
The Czech Republic is known for its skilled glassmakers, getting commissions for lighting installations and glass artworks from palaces, luxury hotels and residences the world over. However this year the studio of Czech glassmaker Zdeněk Lhotský concluded work on a truly unique project – a four-tonne glass case that will serve as a sarcophagus for Denmark’s Queen Margarethe II.
World Press Freedom Day, marked on May 3rd, is perceived as a change to evaluate press freedom around the world and to defend the media from attacks on their independence. In the Czech Republic it serves as a reminder that all is not well in this field – the country slipped 11 places on the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index this year. I spoke to Adam Černý, chairman of the Czech Syndicate of Journalists about what’s hurting press freedom in the country.
Burning witches on April 30-May 1 is an ancient pagan tradition which developed in various European countries including the Czech Republic. People believed witches were especially active on that night and that they flew above people’s heads and later trampled all the crops sown in the fields. That’s the reason why fires were lit with the express aim of burning the witches.
Two Dutch nationals, charged with grievous bodily harm in an attack on a Czech waiter last weekend, have been remanded in custody while three from their group were given eight-month suspended sentences and were expelled from the Czech Republic for five years. The waiter, who had to undergo emergency surgery, meanwhile, is out of danger but still in serious condition.
David Hanaček is an analyst in the IT industry who has managed what many only dream of: to turn their hobby into a side-business. An avid board gamer, Hanaček created his own one-man publishing house Fox in the Box for largely one reason: to bring celebrated designer Phil Eklund’s excellent if very niche games to the Czech market. Eklund, the man behind Sierra Madre Games, has published some very challenging games over his career, from Origins – How We Became Human to Pax Renaissance to High Frontier.
The cyclists’ association Auto*Mat has lodged a court complaint against Prague 1 district council’s move to introduce a daytime ban on bikes in large parts of the city centre. The organisation, which is promoting cycling in the city, has also called on the City Hall to review the matter, arguing that the ban is exaggerated and illegal.