Only 31 per cent of Czech citizens trust the news media, according to a new
report by the Reuters Institute for Journalism Studies at Oxford
University, based on a YouGov survey of over 74,000 online news consumers
in 37 countries.
The Digital News Report cites rising political polarisation and the spread of ‘fake news’ and disinformation online as major factors contributing to the low level of trust among Czechs. It further noted growing concern over sites linked to Russian-based sources or funders promoting an anti-EU agenda.
The report found that Czechs also believe there is less editorial autonomy among mainstream news media, most of which are controlled by oligarchs, such as Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, and powerful business groups.
The five most trusted media are public broadcaster ČT24 and the Czech Radio station Radiožurnál, followed by business daily Hospodářské noviny, and commercial sites Seznam.cz and Aktualne.cz.
Minutes from the Czech National Bank board meeting of June 27 – when
policymakers raised the main interest rate by a quarter point to 1 per cent
– show growing concern over inflationary pressures stemming from the
tightening labour market and corresponding high wage growth.
The jobless rate dropped to 2.9 per cent in June, the lowest in the EU. In the first quarter of 2018, Czech average wages rose by 8.6 per cent, also outpacing the EU average.
The Czech annual inflation rate rose to an eight-month high of 2.6 per cent in June from 2.2 per cent in May, widening the gap between the rate and the central bank’s 2 per cent target.
Rising foreign producer prices, including commodities, pose an inflationary risk in the short term while global uncertainty associated with the impact of Brexit could have an anti-inflationary effect in the longer run, the CNB said.
Drinks maker Kofola Ceskoslovensko has announced plans to cut its
registered capital 2.23 billion crowns by roughly 50 per cent, subject to
approval at a general shareholders meeting on August 13.
The aim is to optimise Kofola’s equity structure and ensure regular dividends for investors even in the event of potential revaluation adjustments of its Polish subsidiary HOOP Polska in the company’s accounts.
Kofola is controlled by the Greek-Czech Samaras family, who resurrected the cola brand Kofola in the 1990s. The drinks maker has since expanded throughout Central Europe but has struggled to gain a stronghold in Poland.
NATO regards a Czech commitment to increase defence spending to 2 percent
of GDP by the year 2024 as credible, according to the Czech ambassador to
the alliance, Jiří Šedivý. In an interview with Czech Television after
US President Donald Trump called on Europe to boost its outlay on its
defence, Mr. Šedivý said the Czech Republic was neither among the best or
the worst as regards weapons purchases.
This was borne out by the fact that it was not among those countries to receive a letter from Mr. Trump calling on them to contribute more to collective defence, the Czech official said.
Social Democrat MP Milan Chovanec says he is ready to give up his seat in
the lower house if the party’s deputies group expels him over his failure
to back the government. The former interior minister did not show up on
Wednesday for a vote of confidence in a coalition government comprising his
party and ANO. He said he could not raise his hand for the alliance for
reasons of conscience.
In an interview with Friday’s edition of the newspaper Právo, Mr. Chovanec said he had not wished to go against the Social Democrats’ party base but could not take any more.
He said more store should have been set in the party’s pre-election pledges not to enter government with ANO leader Andrej Babiš. Mr. Babiš is facing criminal charges over alleged fraud.
The Czech Republic will not change its plans regarding defence spending
following a NATO summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on
Thursday. The Prague government will therefore continue increasing defence
spending with a view to reaching the equivalent of 2 percent of gross
domestic product by the year 2024.
U.S. President Donald Trump had pushed for accelerated spending on weapons at the two-day summit. Mr. Babiš said he had told Mr. Trump that it was important to speak about absolute expenditures on armaments.
The acting Czech minister of foreign affairs, Jan Hamáček, who was also at the summit, said attention should be paid to Mr. Trump’s arguments regarding the amount the U.S. was spending on Europe’s defence.
ANO would have won elections last month with 31 percent of the vote,
suggests an opinion poll conducted by the CVVM agency. The
government-leading party garnered just under 30 percent in elections last
The survey indicates the Civic Democrats would have come second last month on 14 percent of the vote, ahead of the Social Democrats on 11 percent. The Christian Democrats gained compared to previous CVVM polls, while the Pirates, the Social Democrats and Freedom and Direct Democracy slipped.
Neither TOP 09 nor the Mayors and Independents would have reached the 5 percent threshold needed to return to Parliament, the survey indicates.
The European Commission has revised downward its forecast for the growth of
the Czech economy this year and in 2018. According to its latest prognosis,
Czech gross domestic product should expand by 3.0 percent this year and 2.9
percent next year. An earlier forecast had suggested growth of 3.4 percent
in 2018 and 3.1 percent in 2019.
The European Commission also issued less positive growth predictions for the Eurozone and the European Union as a whole on Thursday.
The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, has
filed a lawsuit over a pair of theatre plays staged in Brno in May, the
newspaper Lidové noviny reported on Thursday. The joint production of the
plays Our Violence, Your Violence and The Curse included a scene in which
Jesus rapes a Muslim woman as well as a depiction of Pope John Paul II in a
state of tumescence.
Protests also took place at the theatre itself during the plays, which were directed by Oliver Frljic from Croatia.
Cardinal Duka says that the theatre show represented an attack on his rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. He referred specifically to the inalienability of rights, freedom of religion and the right to dignity and honour. The prelate filed the lawsuit as a private individual.