Parliament approves new law on public broadcasting

13-01-2001

At the close of an 18 hour marathon session, the lower house of Czech Parliament approved a new law on public broadcasting aimed at diluting the influence of politicians over the country's public radio and TV network. Following eighteen hours of recriminations and political bickering the right of centre Civic Democratic Party unexpectedly changed tactics, joining the Social Democrats in support of the government-proposed legislation. The right of centre four-party coalition, which said that in its present form the law did not go far enough to protect the independence of public broadcasting, voted against the bill.

The bill's main provision is that in future nominations for the fifteen member Supervisory Board of Czech Radio and Television will come from professional and civic groups, not politicians. However Parliament retains the right to make the final selection of board members as well as the right to dismiss the board, which will remain accountable to the lower house alone. The law still has to go through the Senate.