The Office of the Czech President made a familiar announcement earlier this week: "President Vaclav Havel is ill with bronchitis and has cancelled all but his most pressing appointments." At least, however, the Czech public were told that their president was ill: before 1989 the health of the communist elite was kept strictly secret. Pavla Navratilova has more:
Sixty-four-year-old President Havel has a long history of illness, but even his office hasn't always kept the public in the picture. In the early years of his presidency, the public could only guess as to the seriousness of the president's medical problems; between '95 and '96 there was a strict information embargo, leading to much speculation in the tabloids. Only after Havel's serious intestinal operation in 1998 was the president's state of health accurately depicted.
Vaclav Zak is the editor of the political bi-monthly Listy. He says the public has a right to know when their politicians are seriously ill:
Karel Gott to get funeral with state honours as singer’s death is mourned at home and abroad
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czech pop music legend Karel Gott dies at the age of 80
Karel Gott’s Mona Lisa to be put up for auction
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott