26-02-2001

Today's newspapers all cover the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Whilst Lidove noviny's headline celebrates the triumph of doctors over athletes found guilty of doping, the headline in Mlada fronta Dnes analyses the games - skeptically pointing to the fact that there is a slight chance that some of the athletes who did well may also be guilty of doping but were just lucky enough not to be caught. In reality, the real winner may be 'doping', it writes.

"Viktor Orban is right" reads a headline in Lidove noviny, referring to the Hungarian Prime Minister's recent calls for the post-war Benes Decress to be abolished before the Czech Republic and Slovakia enter the European Union. The paper's commentator Petruska Sustrova writes that laws, approved by parliament, which on the basis of collective guilt expel millions of citizens and confiscate their property should not be part of today's Europe and furthermore go against today's liberal values.

If ethnic Hungarians were tarred with the same brush as ethnic Germans just because Hungary collaborated with Nazi Germany during the war, why were the Slovaks, whose puppet state did the same, not punished too, Mrs Sustrova asks.

The Czech justice system often fails to punish skinheads for crimes thanks to illegal material containing instructions to follow in order not to be prosecuted, Mlada fronta Dnes writes. The first time the police uncovered the right-wing extremist magazines was two years ago, the paper says.

Besides containing advice on how skinheads should behave during police questioning or in court, the magazines also have detailed instructions for the manufacture of weapons, combat training, and even go into the right tactics of attack. A member of the Czech criminal police also tells the paper that most of the confiscated material promotes war against other races.

The Czech army hopes an advertising campaign will result in three to four and a half thousand recruits, writes Hospodarske noviny. As of next year, the Defense Ministry will launch an extensive media campaign to lure the average Czech citizen - be he or she a cook, driver, or technician - into joining the army. The campaign, which is to cost the state tens of millions of Czech crowns, is part of the project of professionalising the army, which should be completed by 2006, the paper writes.

Mlada fronta Dnes writes that several TV Nova viewers have accused the commercial station of false and misleading advertising. The paper refers to clips broadcast on the station in which its presenters claim to help others by offering their bone marrow to patients and call on their viewers to do the same.

All those viewers over 35 years, however, who have called hospitals to help were turned down as bone marrow donors over the age of 35 years were not considered suitable. The paper quotes a number of disappointed people who point to the fact that many of the presenters on TV Nova who advertised for the cause do not fit into the required age category themselves.

26-02-2001