Czech Republic

MFRR partners call on Members of Parliament for de-politicisation of the Council of the Czech TV

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) sent a letter to Members of Parliament of the Czech Republic to raise our concerns regarding the politicisation of the Council of the Czech TV (Česká Televize, CT)

Following up on earlier letters of 11 March and 2 June 2020, the MFRR wrote to MPs in the Czech Republic regarding the politicisation of the Council of the Czech TV (Česká Televize, CT).

On 18 March 2021, the Electoral Committee shortlisted twelve candidates to the Council, among whom Parliament will now elect four new members. From the outcome of the shortlisting process, political loyalties appear yet again to have outweighed expertise and independence in terms of selection criteria.

This questionable pre-selection follows previous problematic elections for the CT Council held on 27 May 2020. These changed the body’s composition to the point where it can no longer be considered impartial or representative of significant regional, political, social and cultural currents of opinion, as legally mandated.

Since then, the partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) have become concerned that this politicisation of the CT Council is increasingly leading to politically-motivated activities: first through the firing in November of every single member of its own supervisory board and secondly with its apparent efforts to pressure and dismiss the CEO, Petr Dvořák. That this is happening ahead of tightly-contested parliamentary elections later this year poses major questions as to its motive.

Nik Williams