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Slovak media wars, Prague pub crawls, Poland’s sex education… What’s new?

Didn’t have time to read the news lately? Kafkadesk’s got you covered. Here’s our recap of what’s been going on and what you might have missed these last few days: restrictions on pub crawls in Prague, sex education in Poland, and more.

Slovak ruling party launches attack on media

Slovakia is seeking to crack down on media freedom with a new law, the EU Observer reported. Under a proposed amendment to the press code, presented by two Smer MP’s and backed by former Prime Minister Robert Fico, public officials and politicians will be given an exclusive right of reply to articles and reports that have tarnished their honor or reputation. Given the media could face a fine of up to 5.000 euros if they refused, critics fear this new legislation would hamper press freedom and prevent journalists from publishing critical coverage.

Smer chairman Robert Fico, who was forced to resign last year in the wake of the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, has intensified his attacks against the media in recent days. “I have no respect for you”, he told reporters during a press conference, promising to use “all legal and legitimate means to fight the media, until the situation returns to normal”. Fico, known for his recurrent attacks against journalists, whom he accuses of unfair and biased reporting, notoriously labelled them as “dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes” in 2016.

Poland’s sex education under fire, says HRW

Human Rights Watch issued a statement criticizing Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party for “once again scapegoating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and sexual and reproductive health” in an “apparent attempt to boost its popularity”. The human rights watchdog group was referring to the Polish ruling party’s recent attacks against the LGBT community after Warsaw mayor and opposition politician Rafał Trzaskowski signed a LGBT+ declaration last month, which includes a set of measures to promote equal treatment of LGBT issues in sex education classes.

Although PiS’ “use of such false rhetoric is nothing new”, according to Human Rights Watch, “its poisonous language has emboldened others”, quick to misrepresent the efforts to advance LGBT rights as a direct attack on traditional family values, a confusion about gender identity and a sexualisation of Poland’s youth. Human Rights Watch reminds of “the importance of accurate and inclusive sex education”, including equality for LGBT youth in sex education classes, which “helps reduce maternal mortality, adolescent pregnancy, and HIV”.

Prague moves to restrict pub crawl groups

According to local media, the city of Prague is considering taking action to curb pub crawls run by agencies for tourists, especially in the city center, and wants to negotiate directly with club and bar owners. Expressing his wish that other clubs will support the initiative, deputy mayor of Prague 1 Petr Hejma pointed out that municipal authorities had already convinced the owners of the Karlovy Lázně music club, one of the biggest in the city located right next to the Charles bridge, to stop working with agencies organizing pub crawls for large groups as of April 30 this year.

This move is the latest attempt from Prague municipal authorities to regulate the excesses of the Czech capital’s bustling nightlife. Earlier this year, Prague appointed its first-ever ‘nightlife mayor’ to address the issue – something Bratislava might soon try to emulate. Authorities of the Czech capital are also considering a partial or complete ban on beer bikes in the city center.

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