Czech Television’s Independence Threatened Ahead Of Elections

Vera Jourova

Popular public service broadcaster Czech Television has been under threat since the broadcaster’s supervisory commission – which controls the TV’s activities, appoints the director-general, and approves the budget – was suddenly removed in November, and last week’s vote in parliament hints at the broadcaster’s current director-general Petr Dvořák being replaced soon.

“I am worried about the Czech Television,” Czech European Commissioner Věra Jourová admitted during a recent online debate about the rule of law organized by the think-tank, Europeum.

The Czech parliaments’ election committee, dominated by the ruling ANO party, has already selected 12 candidates who will run for Czech TV’s councilors’ posts. 

As most candidates are critical of Czech Television’s current leadership, it is expected that the Council will replace Dvořák ahead of the October parliamentary elections, a move that has been criticized by opposition parties and the broadcaster’s leadership.

“The aim is not to change one person in a leading position, but to change the whole Czech Television, its behavior, and functioning,” Dvořák warned in an interview with daily Hospodářské noviny

“They can try to personally overwhelm the whole television. The Institution will formally look like an independent one, but it will be reflecting their (political) interests. The same has happened in Poland,” Dvořák added. 

Credit: Euractiv