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Czechs open centre to fight fake news

AAP logoAAP 1/01/2017

The Czech Republic has opened a new centre to fight fake news and disinformation on the internet.

The centre, known as CTHH, is expected to employ approximately 30 people whose job it is not only identify fake news, but also to fight the propaganda of foreign governments.

During its trial run, the centre was capable of identifying and marking false news reports of a terror attack in Prague following a deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in December.

Experts from the Prague-based think tank European Values have been concerned about the increasing influence of Russian-based media, fearing that Moscow could try to manipulate parliamentary elections in the central European countries in the fall.

The Czech Republic's pro-Russian President Milos Zeman criticised the new information centre ahead of its opening.

"We don't need censorship. We don't need thought police. We don't need a new agency for press and information as long as we want to live in a free and democratic society," he said during his Christmas adress.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said the centre would not be used to censor the internet or media.

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