Czech courts have ruled that public figures (i.e. people active in public life) must accept a greater degree of public and media attention and criticism than other people. The criticisms of public figures may extend to drawing links between them and other entities. The limits on the scrutiny and criticism of public figures are broader than they are for private individuals. This is the case because – unlike private citizens – public figures unavoidably and willingly open their lives up to close public scrutiny. A similar line of reasoning is set out in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg; see, for example, Lingens v. Austria dated July 8, 1986, complaint no. 9815/82.

The Czech Supreme Court has reached a similar conclusion. It maintains that in the case of public figures, the standards for assessing factual claims and value judgments “should be relaxed in favour of those making the statements. The reason for this is that when a person enters the public arena, they must be aware of the close public scrutiny they are exposing themselves to and the fact that the public will be interested in both their professional and private lives and pass judgments on these things [...] The limits on publishable information and commentary about the behaviour of a public figure should be interpreted more generously because the public figure must abide by stricter rules and the public has the right to learn about their situation. This is especially true when there is a need to assess – from both a professional and a moral standpoint – whether the person is capable of managing public affairs.”

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