Final Word from Thursday, June 30, 2005

If there was any doubt about where the real influence in the CR lies, Parliament eliminated it yesterday by handing a Kč 1bn gift to TV Nova and TV Prima in the form of a ban on advertising at Czech Television. Premier Jiří Paroubek has made a name for himself by standing up to President Václav Klaus, CNB Gov. Zdeněk Tůma and ODS Chair Mirek Topolánek, but he kowtowed to the commercial TV stations yesterday instead of risking bad coverage in the run-up to next year's elections. Everyone is for sale, and Paroubek named his price. But the commercial TV stations also named theirs. By accepting the deal - they allegedly wrote the law - they admitted that their political news coverage is dictated by their business interests. Forget Chinese walls. Forget a free press. But don't forget that it's an American, Ronald Lauder (as owner of TV Nova), who's again responsible for this. [Czech Republic Czech National Bank Governor Central European Media Enterprises CME CETV]


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