President says recommendation of Czech Radio Council does not concern him
President Miloš Zeman said the recommendation of the Council for Czech Radio not to broadcast further live interviews with him after he used vulgar language on air did not concern him. Speaking to journalists during his visit to Tajikistan on Thursday, Mr Zeman said it was up to Czech Radio’s management to deal with the situation. The recommendation came in reaction to a recent scandalous broadcast in which President Miloš Zeman used a number of vulgar expressions. According to the Council, both the law and the broadcaster's ethical codex were breached; at the same time, the council conceded that surprise had played a strong role in the interviewer’s mild reaction to the language used.
Veteran conductor of the Czech Radio Orchestra, Vladimír Válek, and radio drama director Hana Kofránková have been inducted in the Prix Bohemia Festival’s Hall of Fame. Reporter Jan Macháček received the Jiřího Ješ award and Pavla Tomicová received a Thalia for best performance in a radio play. The international festival continues until Thursday.
The Council for Czech Radio has recommended the station should no longer broadcast live the long-running programme Interviews from Lány, reacting to a recent scandalous broadcast in which President Miloš Zeman used vulgar language on the air. According to the Council, both the law and the broadcaster's ethical codex were breached; at the same time, the council conceded that surprise had played a strong role. The head of Czech Radio, Peter Duhan, said that the situation had been “impossible to predict” and made clear that cutting off the president, without warning, had not been an option under the circumstances. He indicated that in the future if a similar situation arose, the station would react immediately.
Experts from the Institute of the Czech Language of the Academy of Sciences have weighed in on the president’s use of vulgarisms in an interview, with some suggesting Mr Zeman opted for the lewdest possible translation of the name of the political band Pussy Riot. Petr Kaderka, the head of the linguistics department at the Institute of the Czech Language, pointed out that a well-known dictionary's first listing was a far tamer definition of the word meaning “cat”. The head of the institute, Karel Oliva, expressed the view that a public apology by the president was in order, the Czech News Agency reported. Prague Castle has downplayed the incident: spokesman Jiří Ovčáček suggested the president had used “explosive” terminology to intentionally lower himself to the level of his political opponents.
Monday saw further reaction to the president’s live broadcast a day earlier, in which he used unusually vulgar terminology to explain the name of activist group Pussy Riot, who he heavily criticised. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in a message that Mr Zeman was hurting the reputation of his office, and was setting a very poor example both at home and abroad. The head of TOP 09, Karel Schwarzenberg, who was mentioned in the broadcast by the president, sent a barb of his own against Mr Zeman on Monday, suggesting that worse than bad language was the president’s approach to China on a recent visit. Sunday’s programme, the only time that a Czech head-of-state has used such language in a live interview, will be assessed by the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting.
Former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek on Monday criticised Czech President Miloš Zeman for vulgar language used by the head-of-state in a live programme broadcast on Sunday, Interviews from Lány. In the programme, broadcast by Czech Radio, the president explained – in explicit terms – the name of Pussy Riot, the activist group whose members were jailed in Russia, whom he likened to “deviants”. Mr Kalousek suggested that in his language the head-of-state was marring a legacy founded by Czechoslovakia’s first president, T.G. Masaryk and continued by post-1989 president Václav Havel. In the past, Mr Kalousek himself has not shied away from strong language on the Czech political scene.
Czech Radio says it was not at fault over an interview with President Miloš Zeman in which the head of state used a number of vulgar expressions. A spokesperson for the station, Jiří Hošna, said it could not influence the language that reached listeners of Sunday evening’s broadcast in the occasional series Interviews from Lány as it had been live. Mr. Hošna said Czech Radio’s Jan Pokorný, who conducted the interview, had pointed out the inappropriateness of some of the bad language used by Mr. Zeman.
This spring I worked on a project to explore the Czech Radio archives with a group of international undergraduate students, studying at the Anglo-American University in Prague. This followed up on a similar project last year to mark the radio’s 90th birthday. Czech Radio has one of the biggest radio archives anywhere in the world, going way back to the late 1920s and it includes several hundred recordings in English, most of them from the radio’s international broadcasts. Working in groups, the students spent time delving into the archives and they chose several archive recordings to analyze. Some of the recordings they picked out are well known and have gone down into radio history, but others had not been listened to since they were first broadcast several decades ago. They give us some intriguing insights into radio at different times in Czechoslovakia’s history: into the tense atmosphere before the outbreak of World War II, into the drama of the Cold War and then the thaw of the 1960s, followed by the Soviet-led invasion. As we listen to the recordings, the past quite literally comes to life. In the programme we listen to extracts from these archive sounds and hear some of the insights that the students gained into them. More
Czech Radio opened its doors to the public on Saturday giving people a chance to view the process of live broadcasting, pre-recording of children’s stories and minute plays and meet with popular radio personalities. Guided tours are available between 9 am and 5 pm and the public is being invited to view a collection of historic radio receivers or visit the radio store to buy recordings of successful radio plays or concerts by the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Czech Radio is marking 91 years since the start of regular radio broadcasting in the country. The country’s first radio operator Radiojurnal went on air on May 18th, 1923, broadcasting from a military tent in Prague’s Kbely district. At first the long-wave broadcasts lasted for just one hour a day and consisted of a brief lead-in and a concert. The country's broadcasting pioneers were journalist Miloš Čtrnáctý, businessman Eduard Svoboda, and Ladislav Šourek, director of Radioslavia – a company that distributed radio receivers. In December 1924 Radiojournal moved from the tent in Kbely to a building on today's Vinohradská Street in the centre of Prague. Czechoslovakia was the second European country after the UK to have regular radio broadcasting.