Final Word from Monday, March 17, 2003

Vladimír Železný likes to cultivate politicians, and more of them are known to show up at TV Nova's birthday parties than advertising people. At last year's event, Železný assured the politicians that they'd be getting good air time before the elections, and of course they did. Železný's connections weren't enough to keep him from losing his Senate immunity in Jan., though, and now comes a second big test. An arbitration court ordered the CR to pay $353.4m to CME for allowing Železný to take the station from it. This decision will put pressure on the government to revoke Nova's license and to sell it to someone else to recoup the amount. But will ČSSD dare to take this step, with the threat of early elections now looming over it? Vladimír Špidla might decide that Železný, with his influence over public opinion, isn't someone he can toss aside like Jiří Rusnok.


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