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Jourova – the threat of unfreedom still lurks

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by Edward Steen. Vienna, May 3, 2023

Věra Jourová, who has done so much as Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, to protect media freedom, said today in a London Guardian interview that her childhood in oppressive ex- Czechoslovakia had inspired her mission.

She told the paper’s correspondent Jennifer Jankin (my former colleague in Brussels) that she was 13 when she was first investigated for her political views and the Communist Czech state was cracking down on political dissidents who had signed a human rights declaration – Charter 77.

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“Her civics teacher wanted to know what she thought of the document. Jourová’s parents were already blacklisted and she feared the wrong answer would make things worse. ‘It was a horror moment,” recalls Jourová, who knew about Charter 77 from the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe broadcasts that her family listened to in secret. So she said nothing and saw her school marks slide.

Nearly half a century later, Jourová is one of the European Commission’s most powerful officials and seeking to protect the media in the European Union. “There are increasing threats and a very dangerous trend,” she told the Guardian.


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