Andrej Babis and Milos Zeman


Senate Receives Petition To Protect Freedom Of Press

Andrej Babiš, Miloš Zeman

Prague, May 17 (CTK) – The Czech Senate representatives received a petition today with over 16,000 signatures calling for the protection of public service media and appealing on politicians to stand up for their independent position, David Smoljak, the petition’s author, has said.


The petition is aimed against some politicians’ efforts to abolish, privatise or control the public service media. It wants the media to stand independent of political power.


Smoljak said the organisers were pleasantly surprised by citizens’ responses when collecting the signatures as no one rejected them aggressively.


“We began preparing the petition in response to the latest presidential and parliamentary election when the highest elected officials began attacking the public service media very sharply, especially the Czech Television (CT), and this reminded us very much of a similar situation in Hungary and Poland,” he said.


Deputy Senate chairman Jiri Sestak (STAN) and chairman of the education, human rights and petitions committee, Zdenek Papousek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), received the petition.


Papousek said the senators will first debate it in the committee, with its authors attending. The committee will then prepare a draft resolution for the Senate, which is to deal with the petition as it has over 10,000 signatories.


The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published a report in April, according to which the press freedom deteriorated in the Czech Republic. Media expert Jan Potucek said he believed this was due to the increasing number of top politicians’ attacks on the media igniting hatred of social networks’ users against them.