Everything you need to know about Prague's controversial 'silence law'

The advocates of cultural life in Prague have recently clashed with Prague's councilors over a law that could silence many open-air events in the city.

Kathrin Yaromich

Written by Kathrin Yaromich Published on 16.06.2022 11:34:00 (updated on 16.06.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

Further restrictions on cultural events could await Prague. The organizers of Nevypínejte kulturu! (Don't shut down culture) warn about the implications of a new law that carries the potential to limit the number of outdoor events with musical accompaniment in various districts of Prague.

The organizers also created an event on Thursday, June 16, at Mariánské náměstí where the Prague City Council is set to deal with the decree in an accelerated procedure. At the same time, the group is calling for people to sign a petition opposing the decree and encouraging Praguers to write to their councilors to ask them to vote no to the statute.

The introduction of the so-called "silence law" stems from noise complaints received from local residents in the area of ​​Ledárny in Braník.

"Soon you may miss your favorite concerts, festivals, and other cultural open-air events," reads the introductory sentence to the event. "Councillor Hana Marvanová is quietly proposing an ordinance to limit the number of outdoor events with musical accompaniment in various locations in Prague. The aim is to limit all culture to a few days a month, with the decision of who can and cannot attend essentially resting in the hands of politicians."

Meanwhile, the city issued a response stating "False information has appeared on social networks that the capital is proposing a decree that plans to cancel live music and concerts in Prague." The city maintains that the proposed decree is only intended to reduce the excessive volume of events in Braník and protect local residents who have been complaining about the noise for a long time.

Councilor Hana Kordová said that they never wanted to limit culture in Prague. "This statement affects me personally, I have always supported culture. We are only dealing with the area of ​​the Ice Factory in Braník, where there is a permanent violation of the noise level and complaints from residents. There should be no ban on concerts, but the introduction of such technical measures that will reduce decibels, especially in the wider area," she said.

If approved, the law would come into force on July 1. The Nevypínejte kulturu! initiative believes that although the first area targeted is only Braník, the law could make it much easier to extend it to other areas, mentioning specifically Žluté lázně, Letňany, Riegrovy sady, and Výstaviště.

"The city districts are currently commenting on the decree and will suggest other areas. The question is where it will stop," David Gaydečka, the founder of the Metronome Prague festival and the initiator of the Don't shut down culture petition, told the FORUM 24 newspaper.

Do you support the decree proposed by the Prague City councilors?

Yes 50 %
No 45 %
Neutral 5 %
159 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

The conditions set out in the draft decree allow events at the open-air space in Braník with a capacity of over 200 people for only five days a month, provided they can take place on a maximum of three consecutive days. The operation would be possible from Sunday to Thursday from 8 am to 9 pm, on Fridays, Saturdays and during the school holidays from 9 am to 10 pm. The noise from the organized events must not exceed the limit of 50 dB, which is the noise level of a normal call or a quiet office.

Opponents of the decree consider such interference with culture to be inadmissible. The group claims that this "unprecedented move is motivated by personal political gain."

The organizers also pointed out that there has not been any substantial debate or professional discussion around the issue while the law is being pushed through rather rapidly.

However, the initiators of the petition and representatives of the coalition of the Prague City Hall met on Tuesday. "We agreed that the most appropriate way to solve any problems in the organization of events is primarily self-regulation, instead of adopting a decree," summed up the meeting Gaydečka.

Various media personalities and agencies have already signed a petition. Among those who showed the support are representatives of the festival association FESTAS, MeetFactory, the Metronome festival, the United Islands of Europe, as well as Prague clubs, and bands such as Chinaski, Kabát, and others.

Anyone who'd like to voice opposition to the "silence law" is asked to gather on Thursday, June 16, at the municipality on Mariánské náměstí. In addition, supporters can sign a petition against the decree, which has already collected over 15,000 signatures by Thursday morning.

In recent years, Prague's Náplavka waterfront has come under fire for noise violations. It is currently forbidden to drink alcohol on the riverbanks from midnight. Amplified music was previously been banned due to noise complaints from the city districts, and the number of large events has also been capped.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more