30-07-2001

There is no single theme in the Czech papers today. Most of them, however, mention the illegal techno party which took place in a former military training area in Northern Bohemia and which was broken up by the authorities, who were afraid the partying crowd could spark a forest fire.

You have to try it to understand what it's like, enthuses LIDOVE NOVINY on the illegal techno party. The paper compares addiction to techno music with smoking marihuana. However, while smoking dope does not infringe on the rights of others, techno parties certainly do, it says. No wonder then that the local authorities try their hardest to drive thousands of dance music fans off their land. But techno parties will never cease to exist, says LIDOVE NOVINY. You won't understand until you try it for yourself, concludes the paper.

Today's PRAVO analyses the draft state budget for 2002. Although the budget is yet to be discussed by Parliament, one thing is certain, the paper writes: almost a third of the budget will go to the ministry of labour and social affairs. The ministry's expenditure includes pensions, social welfare and so on, and this immense burden cannot be lessened without changes to legislation.

Elsewhere, PRAVO reports that the British immigration officers stationed at Prague's Ruzyne airport prevented two Czech girls from flying to Britain. Until now, the vast majority of those turned away were members of the Roma minority, these girls, says the paper, were not. One of the girls told reporters she had enough money and an invitation from friends in the UK, the other said she'd already paid tuition fees for English and Information technology courses in London.

ZEMSKE NOVINY, meanwhile, writes that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of refugees arriving in the Czech Republic. While some continue further to the West, a growing number of them are choosing the Czech Republic as their new home. The paper points out that in the first five months of this year, the number of asylum seekers was three times higher than in the same period in 2000.

ZEMSKE NOVINY quotes Czech interior minister Stanislav Gross as saying that Czech refugee camps are bursting at the seams. The Czech authorities grant political refugee status to just two percent of all asylum seekers, the rest of them are dismissed as economic migrants who do not meet the criteria of the Geneva Convention. Interestingly, ZEMSKE NOVINY mentions that there is also a growing number of asylum seekers from neighbouring Slovakia.

MLADA FRONTA DNES leads with a report on a fresh dispute between the employees and management of the country's public service television network, Czech Television, which is threatening to spark off a new crisis. According to the paper, Czech Television's acting General Director Jiri Balvin has angered hundreds of his employees by making personnel changes in the news room.

Balvin, says the paper, accuses them of a lack of professionalism; the reporters and news editors say Balvin is simply making concessions to fend off political pressure. MLADA FRONTA DNES concludes by voicing a view shared by many - the tense situation in Czech Television can only calm down after the planned appointment of a regular General Director in the autumn of this year.

30-07-2001