President Miloš Zeman will make his traditional Christmas address to the nation on Thursday, December 26th at 1pm CET, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček confirmed on Twitter on Monday. The presidential address, which is a an assessment of the past year and a look into the future, will be broadcast live by the country’s public broadcasters as well as the commercial TV stations NOVA and Barrandov.
The richest Czech, Petr Kellner, is taking over the country’s most popular TV station, Nova. The purchase of Nova operator CME by Kellner’s PPF Group will also give it control of a number of other channels in the region. However, critics say the move is politically motivated and have warned of a new danger to press freedom. Among those voices is Josef Šlerka, director of the Foundation for Independent Journalism.
The former CEO of the Czech Republic’s best-known commercial broadcaster TV Nova, former senator and former Euro MP Vladimír Železný, has announced a planned return to TV broadcasting, news site iDnes reports. Mr Železný, iDnes specified, was planning on kicking off a new 24 hour news station with Hungarian businessman Pála Milkovics; the latter would reportedly hold an 85 percent majority share, while Mr Železný would own the rest. According to iDnes, the station, known as Z24, could begin terrestial, satellite and online broadcasting within two-and-a-half months. The news site reported that the former TV magnate had a “plan” how take on public broadcaster Czech TV although, it noted, he had no licence, studio, or news team, yet.
Prime minister and Social Democrats chairman Bohuslav Sobotka says he is not planning to invite President Miloš Zeman to a party congress in March. Mr. Sobotka made the comment in an interview with the TV station Nova. Mr. Zeman’s spokesman said it was up to the prime minister whether he invited the president. Mr. Zeman turned the Social Democrats into an election-winning force in the 1990 but quit the party in 2007. He was reportedly involved in a failed effort to oust Mr. Sobotka as chairman after the last elections that resulted in some of his supporters losing influence in the party.
A court in Prague on Wednesday ruled that a former anchor for the commercial Czech TV channel Nova, Karel Voříšek, was wrongfully listed as a collaborator of the communist-era secret police, the StB. Mr Voříšek stopped working for Nova in 2012 after allegations surfaced that he reported to the StB on his fellow students while studying at the Faculty of Arts of Prague’s Charles University in 1980s.
This week marks 20 years since the launch of TV Nova, the first Czech commercial television channel. A huge success since the beginning, it introduced viewers to new forms of entertainment and news coverage. The station later suffered from a conflict between its US investors and its CEO which ended in arbitration, marking marked the end of an era for TV Nova. In this edition of Marketplace, I talk to leading media studies expert Jan Jirák of Charles University about the station’s rise and fall and its lasting impact on the Czech media scene.