Officials will be visiting every household in the country this week to deliver forms for the upcoming census. The state wants to know the exact number of people, houses, even household appliances there are at the end of this month. A similar census is held every ten years, and has been held for some 250 years in this part of the world. But never has it met with so much controversy. Olga Szantova reports.
Arguments against the census range from the really heated ones about the state trying to pry information about the social status of citizens, so it can cut down on various benefits, to the threat of private companies getting hold of the information and misusing it to fight competition. Several famous personalities have stated publicly they would not answer all the questions, regardless of the law that makes filling in the form compulsory. A somewhat less militant, but still very critical analysis of the census has been published by the Czech Helsinki Committee. The Committee's lawyer, Dr. Petr Smolik, says they don't just object to the questions asked, but also to the way the information is to be collected. Some 46,000 census collectors have been appointed throughout the country and there is no way of making sure that they won't misuse the information they receive.
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