An increasingly outrageous discourse
The video of Czech President Miloš Zeman brandishing a dummy Kalashnikov with the inscription “for journalists” at a press conference in October 2017 will be remembered as a classic example of hatred towards journalists. Outrageous words and gestures of this kind at the highest level of the state open the way to excesses of every sort. For example, a cameraman was physically attacked by a member of Zeman’s campaign staff on the evening of his reelection. In the speech Zeman gave when sworn in for a second term, he attacked the media, especially Czech public TV, accusing it of “manipulating public opinion.” These unprecedented comments by a president prompted demonstrations in support of the public media. There is also concern about the level of media ownership concentration, which is reaching critical levels. Since 2008, new oligarchs have been using their fortunes to buy newspapers in order to reinforce their influence. One of these oligarchs, Prime Minister Andrej Babis, owns the Czech Republic’s two most influential daily newspapers. He is currently being prosecuted for the allegedly fraudulent use of EU subsidies. Claims that his control of these two newspapers violates the law on conflicts of interest have not undermined his political ascendancy. In April 2018, three Czech investigative journalists reported that police have tried to intimidate them in connection with their coverage of matters linked to Babiš. After serving one of the Babiš-owned dailies loyally for 27 years, leading war reporter Petra Procházková resigned in September 2018 in protest against his meddling in its editorial policies. The Czech Republic’s fifth richest oligarch, Daniel Křetínský, turned his sights on the French media market in 2018, buying up a number of publications, including Elle and Marianne, and acquiring a stake in Le Monde.
34 in 2018
21.89 in 2018