09-01-2001

The latest developments around Czech TV continues to make the headlines in all Czech newspapers today. MLADA FRONTA DNES writes that the revolt against political interference into the Czech public TV network can only be put to an end by politicians. The ruling Social democrats and the opposition Four party coalition have proposed that Czech TV supervisory board be temporarily replaced by the Lower House of Parliament. This is because the members of the board refused on Monday to succumb to a suggestion made by the Lower House to remove Czech TV's controversial director, Jiri Hodac.

Deputy chairwoman of the Lower House Petra Buzkova told the paper that last week the possible removal of the Czech TV Council would have never entered her mind. She had said that this would enable Hodac to rule over Czech TV without any control. However now, she says, it seems as if the Council is firmly resolved to blocking all possible solutions and that it refused to take any responsibility for the existing situation. That's why the Lower House intends to recall the Council at its session on Friday, informs MLADA FRONTA DNES.

PRAVO carries an interview from "the other side of the barricade". Chairman of Czech TV trade unions, Antonin Dekoj, told the paper that he did not consider Czech TV employees' current strike illegitimate. Dekoj told PRAVO that both the rebel journalists and the other striking employees wanted director Jiri Hodac and all his new team to be removed from their posts. They also call for standard programming to be renewed and for a proper audit on how Czech TV had been managed.

Mr Dekoj told PRAVO that the rebel news team had been continuing its daily work routine, preparing newsreels, sport news and weather forecasts. Strike forms differ, and our strike does not mean that we will stop working, Mr Dekoj said, adding that no one from the new team hired by Hodac had a valid job contract.

And away from Czech TV now: "A woman has blocked the construction of a enormous electronics plant," reads a headline on the front page of LIDOVE NOVINY. The paper reports on the current feud between the town hall in the Moravian town of Hranice and Marketa Regecova, the owner of land, where a huge Philips plant is to stand. Mrs Regecova is asking for 19 million crowns compensation for her land, which local councilors see as an exaggerated demand. Mrs Regecova's lawyer told LIDOVE NOVINY that the law was on the side of his client: it is not possible to construct a plant if it goes against the will of the land owner, he said. Mrs Regecova is thus jeopardising foreign investment worth 624 million US dollars, writes LIDOVE NOVINY.

ZEMSKE NOVINY writes on its home page that the number of smokers in the Czech Republic has stabilised. At present, says the paper, 19 percent of Czech people are regular smokers of cigarettes, while another 13 percent consider themselves occasional smokers. Since the last survey the figures have remained more or less the same: about 50 percent of those polled said they had never smoked, while eighteen percent of them used to but had succeeded in kicking the habit altogether. Many of these are pensioners, who have given up smoking because of their poor financial situation, but there's also a high percentage of those who have quit for health reasons.

09-01-2001