Final Word from Thursday, April 16, 2009

Political censorship isn't usually a big problem in the Czech Republic, and more insidious is the commercial censorship. Companies use their marketing budgets and other means to influence what the media say - or, more importantly, don't say - about them. The first cracks in the system are starting to show, though, as companies shrink their marketing budgets and their pay lists. Financial institutions are among the biggest slashers, and - voilà - they are now coming under increased scrutiny for "gouging" and "usury." There also seem to be more reports accusing O2 of such things as trying to steal Mediatel's yellow-pages customers and overcharging Czechs in order to subsidize low-ball pricing in Slovakia. Bucking the trend is ČEZ. It's been running a big ad campaign, although it doesn't have much to advertise that hasn't already been splashed on the front pages. For the moment, at least, its form of commercial censorship seems to have tempered the outrage in the ad-starved press about its high rates and profits.[Orange Telefonica electricity Euro magazine TV Nova]

Glossary of difficult words

no pay, no play - if money is not exchanged, you do not get special treatment;

insidious - proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects;

pay list - a list of people who receive payoffs;

slasher - a person who slashes (reduces spending in a dramatic way);

voila - (French) there it is; there are you;

scrutiny - critical observation or examination;

to gouge - to overcharge;

usury - the illegal act of lending money at unreasonably high rates;

low-ball - undercutting the competition;

Slovakia - see the aritlce "Aby kachna neztloustla"; sorry, it is a paid site;

to temper - to serve as a neutralizing or counterbalancing force;

ad-starved - deprived of advertising revenue.


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