Lower house chairman warns against abusing freedom of speech

Chairman of the Czech lower house of Parliament, Radek Vondráček (Ano), has warned in a New Year’s Day address against abusing the freedom of speech to attack others.

Threats and insults should not be part of debate in a functioning democracy, Vondráček said, adding that as chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, he felt partly responsible for widening divisions in society.

“Democracy is not a boxing ring. We can remain decent people in the streets and squares. Vulgarity, personal insults, racism, threats, do not belong to democracy. Today we have freedom of speech, and no one can take it away, but we abuse it when we attack others and spread hatred,” he said.

On the upside, Vondráček said the Czech economy was performing well, and increases in average wages and pensions were coming due to the efforts of millions of diligent citizens.