A photograph of a skirmish between human rights activists and supporters of Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Prague this year has won the top prize in this year’s Czech Press Photo. During the visit in March, organized groups of Chinese supporters clashed with Czech activists, some of them evoking the legacy of the late Václav Havel and his friendship with the Dalai Lama. The winning entry was taken by photojournalist Michal Šula.
Czech Radio has produced a photograph of the US ambassador to Prague, Andrew Shapiro, attending this year’s Czechoslovak Independence Day celebrations at Prague Castle, following President Zeman’s claim that he was one of the few diplomats who stayed away from the event. Mr. Shapiro’s presence at the ceremony in Prague Castle’s Vladislav Hall was also confirmed by the German Ambassador to Prague Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven who sat next to him at the event. Relations between the president and US ambassador have been strained since the spring of 2015 when Ambassador Shapiro criticized the Czech head of state for attending V-Day celebrations in Moscow while other EU leaders boycotted the event in protest over Russia’s interference in Ukraine.
A proposal by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia to cut the VAT rate on newspapers has won backing in the lower house of parliament. The move to cut the current 15 percent rate to 10 percent was passed at first reading. It now goes to the upper house, the Senate. The move was initially opposed by the government, partly on the grounds that it would cut tax earnings by around 500 million crowns a year and also due to misgivings whether sales would rise. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, the owner of two national newspapers, did not vote on the issue.
Czech broadcasters are promising live and continued coverage of the US election, reacting to results as they come in. Among those preparing special coverage are Czech Television, Czech Radio and commercial broadcaster TV Nova. The US election will see either the Democratic Party nominee, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, or the Republican nominee, businessman Donald J. Trump, emerge as the 45th president of the United States. Czech TV’s ČT24 will begin its live coverage at 12:30 am, local time, continuing through Wednesday morning until noon. Special documentaries on the election will also air on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
One of the biggest events at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival was the premiere of Little Mole and Laozi by Filip Remunda. Part of Czech Television’s Czech Journal series, which Remunda runs with Vít Klusák, it centres on events surrounding the visit of China’s president, Xi Jinping, to Prague in March. At that time Chinese flags were placed all along the road from the airport to the city centre, while groups of seemingly organised Chinese loudly welcomed Xi and clashed with protesting supporters of Tibet. Speaking after the Jihlava
Commercial TV broadcaster Prima screened the original version of Jan Kraus’ talk show on Thursday evening following accusations of censorship. The program, which was originally scheduled to go out on Wednesday night, was pulled by managers who cited fears of a possible fine from the state-appointed radio and television watchdog for breaking the set standards of objectivity. The argument was later brushed off by the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting which said it had ruled earlier that entertainment programs featuring subjective views of guests did not keep to the highest standards of objectivity and balance that might be demanded elsewhere. This particular episode of the Kraus show contained many critical references to the head of state, President Miloš Zeman.
The Czech state appointed radio and tv watchdog, the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, bluntly brushed off claims from commercial broadcaster Prima that it did not originally screen the episode of Jan Kraus’s talk show featuring George Brady and culture minister Daniel Herman because of fears how the council would react. Managers at the broadcaster already knew that the council had ruled that entertainment programmes featuring subjective views of guests did not keep to the highest standards of objectivity and balance that might be demanded elsewhere, the council said in a statement late Thursday. Prima was trying to shift blame for its decision and put it on the regulator if it tried to maintain that it was not aware of this, it added. The episode of the show reportedly contained many critical references to Czech head of state, president Miloš Zeman, and his staff.
The scandal around the alleged withdrawal of a state honour to Holocaust survivor George Brady has taken a new turn with news that an episode of the popular talk show Jan Kraus on commercial broadcaster Prima failed to be screened. The episode, recorded on Tuesday, was supposed to go out on Wednesday night. Prima said that was not possible because the copy of the recording arrived late. An earlier episode was repeated instead. The station’s version was challenged by the show’s producer, who said it was delivered as usual and in time. Other guests on the show, such as musician Anna K, have complained of media censorship. Brady, the uncle of culture minister Daniel Herman, has been in the spotlight the last week in a scandal focused on whether the president’s office first offered him a state award and then warned it would be withdrawn if the minister met with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Prima later said the episode would be screened on Thursday. Jan Kraus, known for his outspoken comments and stand against corruption, said that screening of an edited version of the show by Prima broke its contract with him. He said the orignal version would be put out on the web. Jan Kraus is known for his outspoken comments and stand against corruption.
Czech Television is planning to make some of its internet content unavailable to those who do not pay a monthly CZK 135 license fee, Lidovky.cz reported on Tuesday. The news site said that increasing numbers of people were watching Czech Television on the internet but refusing to pay the licence fee on the grounds that they don’t possess a TV set. The station has almost 4,000 days of content available on its website and had 200 million views last year.
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