Czech TV in crisis

21-12-2000

On Wednesday, the main evening news show of the public Czech TV Ceska televize broadcast silence for two minutes. A message appeared on TV screens with a proclamation by Czech TV employees, saying that by naming Jiri Hodac to the director's post the Czech Television supervisory board had "directly threatened the independence and functioning of public television". More from Lucie Krupickova:

The board of Czech Television's decision to appoint Jiri Hodac general director is most strongly opposed by editors in the station's newsroom. They claim that the two largest Czech political parties, the ruling Social Democrats and the opposition Civic Democrats, are striving to gain control over the public television's newsroom before parliamentary elections in 2002. Earlier this year, Mr. Hodac, the former head of Czech Television's newsroom, apparently applied for the post of spokesman for the opposition Civic Democrats, which has heightened speculation that his is a purely political appointment.

Earlier I spoke to political commentator Jan Culik and asked him if he thought Jiri Hodac's a appointment as director of Czech TV was politically motivated:

Many journalists, however, fear that the independence of Czech Television is now at stake and have therefore called for sympathizers to demonstrate against the appointment of Jiri Hodac as TV director. There has been extensive coverage of the issue on Czech Television, but, according to political commentator Jan Culik, the station has remained far from independent: