Czech Cardinal Criticizes Big Tech Censorship After Twitter Account is Suspended

Czech media said that a possible reason for the suspension was a tweet that Cardinal Duka posted Oct. 1 linking to an article about the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pope Francis poses with Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, after the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square, Nov. 13, 2019.
Pope Francis poses with Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, after the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square, Nov. 13, 2019. (photo: Daniel Ibanez / CNA/EWTN News)

PRAGUE — A Czech cardinal has criticized online censorship after his Twitter account was restored days after it was suspended. 

Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague announced the reactivation of his account Oct. 31, but said that he had received no explanation for its suspension. 

The cardinal, who was imprisoned by the communist authorities in 1981-82, compared present-day censorship to that of the 1980s, saying that things were “not much different” today. 

“Now, however, on the basis of fictitious statements, it is not man who punishes, but artificial intelligence, led by the crowd to suppress ‘wrong’ ideas,” he wrote on Twitter.

It is not clear when Twitter suspended Cardinal Duka’s account, but his account displays no posts between Oct. 14 and Oct. 31.

According to local media, when users searched for the account after its suspension, they received a message saying “Caution: This account is temporarily restricted.”

Czech media said that a possible reason for the suspension was a tweet that Cardinal Duka posted Oct. 1 linking to an article about the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The article, in the Konzervativní noviny (Conservative newspaper), criticized the Czech media’s portrayal of Barrett as a member of a “Catholic sect.”

Prague archdiocese tweeted Oct. 22 that this was “probably” the reason for the ban.

Reports also suggested that the account might have been suspended because of a breach of security.

But a spokesman for Cardinal Duka said that the reason for the decision was unknown and he declined to speculate. 

Cardinal Duka clashed with the communist government of Czechoslovakia after his ordination as a priest in Dominican order in 1970. 

In 1975, the authorities withdrew his authorization to serve as a priest. He worked in a Škoda factory, while continuing to minister in secret. 

When his priestly activities were discovered, along with his role in publishing dissident literature, he was sent to Bory Prison in Plzeň, where fellow inmates included future Czech President Václav Havel. Cardinal Duka celebrated Mass for the prisoners under the guise of a chess club. 

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him archbishop of Prague in 2010.