Revelations last week that TV Prima management ordered reporters to present refugees in a negative light were a bombshell on the Czech media scene. The story centred on an audio recording posted by the investigative journalism website Hlídací pes, whose editor-in-chief, Robert Břešťan, came into our studios to discuss the scandal. But before we arrived at that subject, I asked Břešťan, who is 37, about his own beginnings in the journalism trade.
Today's Sunday Music Show is dedicated to the most famous Czech opera, The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana. This week marked exactly 150 years since Prodaná nevěsta premiered at Prague's Provisional Theatre on May 30, 1866. The three-act comic opera, set in a country village, tells the story true love that eventually prevails over efforts of ambitious parents and a scheming marriage broker.
Every year the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Association of Czech Libraries awards the title Knight of the Order of the Beautiful Word to over a dozen children who have discovered the joy of reading and to selected actors and writers who have helped to bring the magic of the spoken or written word to the youngest generation. This year, for the first time ever, one of those admitted to the select club is a member of the Czech expat community abroad – nine-year-old Jerry Mech from Chicago.
Evidence has emerged that Prima TV ordered its journalists to report negatively on refugees. In a recording of an editorial meeting last year, the channel’s head of news is heard telling reporters to present asylum seekers as a threat or consider finding new jobs. The audio file was made public on Tuesday by independent news website HlídacíPes.org and has sparked a debate about journalistic ethics. I asked Hlídací Pes’s founder Robert Břešťan how he had reacted on first hearing the recording.
Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček has won the Queen Elisabeth Competition for young musicians, which is considered the world’s most demanding piano contest. The 29-year-old Czech impressed the jury with his performance of Sergei Rachmaninov in Brussels last week. He will receive the award, including a cheque for 25,000 euros, at a gala ceremony on Tuesday attended by Belgium’s Queen Mathilde.
Steve Gove is the founder and director of the Prague Fringe festival, which has just got underway in the Czech capital for the 15th time. The Scot has been living in the city since 1997 and is an infectiously enthusiastic guide to “his Prague”. Our tour begins at Malostranská Beseda, an historic venue on the main square in the Lesser Quarter that has been the hub of Prague Fringe since the building’s extensive renovation in the 2000s.
The annual Days of Jerusalem in Prague festival is currently under way in the Czech capital. Established four years ago with the support of Prague and Jerusalem city councils, it offers a selection of dance, music, visual and culinary arts from the various communities in Jerusalem. Last year, the festival sparked criticism when a group of world renowned public figures claimed that it helped legitimise Israel’s political strategy.