Czechia on board with proposed EU anti-stalking and 'revenge porn' laws

The new draft law seeks to protect women from online harassment, which includes the sending of unsolicited images and stalking.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 07.02.2024 10:30:00 (updated on 08.02.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech European Commission (EC) Vice-president Věra Jourová has praised the EU for a newly announced directive to protect women from violence and safeguard them from harassment in the cyber sphere and in-person. Jourová even said that the new law “replaces the Istanbul Convention in some way.”

Protecting women offline and online

EU states and members of European Parliament agreed to the new directive Tuesday. Jourová said it defines for the first time crimes in the online space, including stalking or hate speech directed at women.

It also criminalizes the distribution of intimate photographs and images without consent, as well as warning against female genital mutilation and arranged marriages. The EU will also criminalize so-called “cyber flashing” – the sending of unsolicited, lewd images.

The directive also speaks of the need for a campaign to prevent rape, which is mentioned in the text "as a crime to be punished in the member states on the basis of the definition that it is sex without consent.”

The law also foresees that victims will have the right to claim full compensation from offenders for damages resulting from violence against women. The new directive will also make it easier for victims of gender-based crimes to access justice and obliges member states to provide an appropriate level of specialized protection and support.

An alternative to the Istanbul Convention?

“[The new directive] is also a reaction to the fact that not all EU countries have ratified the Istanbul Convention on which I have been counting for years to be a safe scourge against violence targeting women,” Jourová said, referencing Czechia’s persistent failure to ratify the EU’s Istanbul Convention that aims to protect women against domestic violence. A motion in the Czech Senate to ratify the convention was narrowly defeated last month.

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"I do not understand why Czechia has not ratified the Istanbul Convention yet." She also criticized the influence of the church in Czechia in this decision, stating that it is trying to "return life to the 19th century."

The directive still requires approval from ministers of member states and the plenary of the European Parliament before it comes into force. However, Jourová anticipates the directive to become official law without any issues.

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