Brno, April 2 (CTK) – The Czech office for supervising political parties’ financial management has imposed a 40,000-crown fine on the Olympia publishing house for having promoted President Milos Zeman’s book before the presidential election in which Zeman was running, server iRozhlas.cz reported today.
The publisher dismissed the book advertisement being a part of the campaign ahead of the January polls, in which Zeman was re-elected for another five-year term, beating eight rival candidates.
Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek called the supervisory office’s approach extraordinarily strange.
The office stated that the publisher made a mistake.
“We came to the conclusion that the consequence of the mistake was serious, because the publisher launched the book’s massive advertisement including the promotion of [presidential] candidate Zeman,” Jan Outly, from the office, told iRozhlas.cz.
He said the respective billboards should have borne information about who ordered the advertisement and who produced it. Furthermore, the publisher should have registered with the supervisory office, Outly said.
“It is more than probable that the costs of the billboard campaign far exceeded the limit of one million crowns, which the publishing house would have had to respect if it had duly registered as ‘a third entity’,” Outly said.
Olympia director and co-owner Karel Hejna said the company will consider whether to appeal the sanction.
Nevertheless, he dismissed the book advertisement having been a part of the election campaign.
Ovcacek tweeted that he has considered the supervisory office’s approach “extraordinarily strange since the very beginning.”
“I personally believe that it is politically motivated,” he added.
The first volume of complete interviews with Zeman appeared in 2016, and the second volume last autumn, when the presidential election campaign was underway. Each of them was supported by massive billboard advertisement.