Public service media in Central Europe reflect growing populism in the region but are not the cause of it. That’s the view of New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, who was recently in Prague. Thompson shared his views on the media landscape in this region with Czech Radio’s Lenka Kabrhelová – and also explained a move to end Czech language broadcasting while he was director-general of the BBC.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is in Davos this week talking to international leaders. On Thursday he met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Apple CEO Tim Cook. According the Mr. Babiš there is much potential for Czech companies in what is currently the country’s second largest trading partner in South America.
Elena Gorolová, a Roma social worker from the north Moravian city of Ostrava, has been included on an annual BBC list of 100 inspirational and influential women for 2018. The BBC highlighted Ms Gorolová’s campaign against forced sterilisation as well as her work to return institutionalised children to their birth families.
Thomas Archer Bata is in charge of global marketing for the Bata shoe company, which has more than 5,000 stores in over 70 countries all around the globe. He is the only member of the Bata family working at the famous firm, which his great-grandfather, Tomáš Baťa, founded in the Moravian town of Zlín at the end of the 19th century. Thomas Archer Bata was born in Canada and has lived in Switzerland, the UK and South America. So, I asked him, when did he first visit the Czech Republic?
As controller of BBC World Service English, Mary Hockaday is one of the most senior executives at the globe’s biggest radio station. When she was in Prague last week for a recording of the debate show World Questions, I asked Hockaday about various aspects of the World Service’s role and today’s media landscape. But the conversation began with her years here in the Czech capital in the early 1990s, when she was the BBC’s correspondent in the city.
The Constitutional Court has rejected a compensation claim filed by the descendants of the former shoe magnate Jan Antonín Baťa, the Czech News agency reported on Thursday. Baťa’s descendants are jointly seeking compensation to the tune of 56 million crowns for property that was confiscated from Baťa in 1947 under the post-war Beneš decrees for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. In 2007 a court cleared Bata’s name, ruling that no crime had been committed. Prague municipal court earlier rejected the compensation claim on the grounds that the restitution laws pertain to property confiscated after February 25th 1948 and cannot apply to a case that occurred a year earlier.
Worldwide shoe company Bat’a intends to site its global marketing headquarters in Prague, according to the Czech daily Lidové Noviny. The new Prague team will be led by the 29-year-old grandson of the founder of the Czechoslovak shoe empire, Thomas Archer Bata, it added. Bat’a has hitherto had a decentralised marketing philosophy for its worldwide operations but has now decided to unify the image and stress its historical tradition.
The Baťa family – who built a shoemaking empire in Zlín, Moravia – were perhaps the most important industrialists in interwar Czechoslovakia. One of the best-known members of the family was Jan Antonín Baťa, who headed the firm after the death of Baťa founder Tomáš Baťa, his half-brother. After fleeing the Nazis in 1939, the tycoon eventually settled in Brazil, where he established four new cities. His granddaughter Dolores Bata Arambasic, was born in one of those cities, Batatuba. Today in her late 60s, she is a frequent visitor to the Czech Republic.
During WWII, the London-based Czechoslovak government in exile had only one method of communicating regularly with its people at home: over the airwaves of the BBC. To discuss the content of these programmes, ministers’ broadcasting skills, coded messages to the resistance and much more, I recently caught up with academic Erica Harrison, who has conducted ground-breaking research into the subject. My first question: How much broadcasting did the exile government actually do?