published: 01.11.2013, 09:56 | updated: 01.11.2013 10:07:50
Prague - Twenty-three employees of the CT24 public news channel have sent a letter rejecting intervention in the newscast to the Czech Television Council (RCT), but 61 CT employees have dismissed the criticism, siding with the CT management.
The letter of complaint was signed by popular anchorwoman Daniela Drtinova and news deputy head Adam Komers.
The letter says CT newscast head Petr Mrzena intervened in the newscast work to the benefit of President Milos Zeman and the Party of Citizens' Rights - the Zemanites (SPOZ).
The CT management wants to have the complaint reviewed by an independent auditor.
"We dismiss the idea that we were subjected to any pressure or influencing of the reports before and during the parliamentary elections," the 61 loyalists said in their letter to CT general director Petr Dvorak.
The critics submitted some specific evidence.
They say when the Presidential Office said Zeman suffered from a virosis, the shots of the tottering president were withdrawn from the newcast.
This occurred when Zeman participated in the official opening of the Prague Castle chamber with the crown jewels in May. The rumours then circulated that he was under the influence of alcohol.
The complainants also cite the example of the huge statue with a raised middle finger by provocative artist David Cerny aimed at Prague Castle, seat of Czech heads of state, closely before the October 25-26 general election, meant as a warning of the comeback of Communists under leftist Zeman.
The report was only presented in the form of a read piece of news and was withdrawn from the Events newscast programme, the critics said.
They also complain that only Transport Minister Zdenek Zak (SPOZ) was invited to speak about a personnel shake-up at the ministry.
For fear of revenge, only Drtinova and Komers were ready to publish their names in the petition. The rest of the names are only known to RCT chairman Milan Uhde.
The complainants point to CT reporter Jakub Kalensky who was sacked after he came up with similar objections in 2011.
Uhde said this was evidence that there was an atmosphere of fear of open conduct in CT, which was equally alarming as the content of the letter.
Newscast director Zdenek Samal said he insisted on the unbiased work at the CT newscast.
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