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March 11, 2018 7:51 pm | FILED UNDER: politics

Andrej Babis Vows Not To Join Zeman’s Attacks Against Czech Television

By ČTK Andrej Babis and Milos Zeman

Prague, March 11 (CTK) – Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said the Czech Television (CT) does not seem to be endangered and he is not going to attack the public broadcasters in any way, he told journalists after he was interviewed in a CT programme today.

 

“As for myself, I definitely will not attack the public media in any way, although I may have critical opinions about some reports or reporters, but I have got used to it,” Babis said.

 

He also recalled that he accepted the invitation to the today’s Questions of Vaclav Moravec discussion programme even though the moderator Moravec has been critical of him for two years.

 

Babis rejected the invitation to this CT programme for about one year.

 

On Thursday, President Milos Zeman accused the CT of being biased and siding with the right-wing opposition TOP 09 party. Zeman previously said the members of the council supervising the CT should be replaced and people who own a TV set should stop paying fees to the CT.

 

At the awarding ceemony of the Czech Lion film prizes last night, filmmakers, actors and other artists presented an appeal in defence of the CT.

 

ANO MP Stanislav Berkovec, who heads the lower house electoral committee, recently asked the CT council to additionally submit the CT annual report for 2016. The lower house is also to be dealing with CT’s report for 2017.

 

If the lower house rejected two CT’s annual reports, it has the right to dismiss the CT council. Zeman recently mentioned this possibility.

 

Babis said the reason why Berkovec asked for the report certainly was to reject the reports and sack the present CT council.

 

On Saturday night, the film artists appealed on Czech politicians to defend the CT and maintain its as an independent broadcaster. They called the statements Zeman made in his inauguration address the biggest attack on CT’s independence since 2000 TV crisis.

 

In December 2000, a part of CT reporters and their supporters occupied the CT news studio in protest against a new CT management which they accused of being biased and linked to the strongest political parties. The new management was backed by then leading politicians, then prime minister Zeman and right-wing leader Vaclav Klaus, while the rebelling reporters received support from then president Vaclav Havel. After rallies of tens of thousands of people were staged, the new management stepped down or was sacked in February 2001.

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