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Czech weed, Polish copyright, Hungarian fake news… 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: a massive weed bust in the Czech Republic, Poland slams new EU copyright laws, and Hungary rides the fake news wave.

Czech weed: An unprecedented drug bust in Moravia

A coordinated drug bust, the scope of which had been unseen for many years, conducted by the Moravian-Silesian police force uncovered 25 marijuana growing rooms, mostly located in the city of Ostrava, and resulted in the arrest of 21 people, reports local media.

The network, headed by a married couple, was also in possession of other drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy, sold in the Czech Republic as well as neighbouring Poland and Slovakia. Last month, Czech police charged seven people for illegal production and trafficking of marijuana. The group had been selling cannabis since 2012 in 70 different countries around the world, according to local reports. czech weed

Cannabis use is illegal for recreational purposes, but allowed for therapeutic and medicinal usage in the Czech Republic, which counts among the biggest marijuana consumers in Europe. The Czech Parliament is currently discussing several possible reforms to liberalize the production and use of cannabis, and the Czech government is also considering reimbursing the purchase of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.

Polish ruling party becomes Internet freedom champion

Over the week-end, chairman of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party Jaroslaw Kaczynski slammed the new EU copyright reform and claimed that the Polish government will only implement the new legislation “in a way that will preserve freedom”. As Associated Press points out, his comments “were apparently aimed at attracting young voters, and countering an opinion that the (…) party’s policies are curbing free speech and ideas”. “Dear Internet users, we are with you”, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki added during the convention.

While critics of the new copyright reform, adopted last week by the European Parliament, claims the new laws will restrict Internet users freedom and stifle creativity, its proponents, including the creative sector that had been lobbying Brussels for years, hail the reform as an important victory to recognize and compensate the work of creators, authors and artists used on the Internet. Last month, the Czech and Slovak Wikipedia platforms shut down for 24 hours to protest against the new EU copyright rules.

Hungary: Government makes use of “fake news” smokescreen

Talking on Sunday on public Kossuth Radio, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó launched a strong-worded attack on what he billed the “globally operating liberal fake news factories” who allegedly relentlessly target “patriots who dare to declare that their countries come first, for whom religious, national or cultural identities are important, who dare to protect the security of their citizens by building a wall” he said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to build a wall at the border with Mexico.

As could be expected, Orban’s top diplomat didn’t fail to include Hungary as one of the victims of this global scourge, claiming that the Hungarian government was facing a similar campaign of defamation and disinformation and that “all attacks disguised by the veil of the rule of law” are nothing more than “fake news”. The Hungarian government’s most recent anti-migration campaign was itself slammed as “fake news” by the European Commission a few weeks ago.

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