In a judgment issued on July 12, 2018 (file no. 22 Co 65/2018), Prague Municipal Court considered the case of a former high-ranking Czech political official, an ex-government minister who had been exposed to a high level of public and media scrutiny and was generally one of the best-known figures on the Czech political scene. The court found that this individual continued to be a person of public interest although he did not hold public office at the time of the decision. As a result, he could reasonably be expected to withstand more scrutiny than other citizens according to a Constitutional Court judgment handed down on March 15, 2015 (see file no. I. ÚS 367/2003). In that judgment, the court held that public figures such as politicians, public servants and media personalities needed to accept a higher level of public scrutiny than others in the community. The rationale for this was that this heightened scrutiny enabled public debate on key issues and the state should therefore only step in when absolutely essential. While the state might limit freedom of expression to protect the reputation of other citizens, this power should only be exercised if the harm could not otherwise be remedied.

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