Outrage as Czech president abuses journalists

by European Federation of Journalists

Media freedom campaigners and the European Federation of journalists condemn remarks made by the Czech Republic's newly re-elected President Milos Zeman.

Shock and outrage as Czech president abuses journalistsý

Mr. Zeman accused the Czech public broadcaster of granting too much coverage to the TOP 09 conservative political party. He further went on to allege a general manipulation by liberal news outlets. 

Karolina Blinkova, a spokeswoman of Czech Television (CT) dismissed his accusations of biased news coverage in favour of the TOP 09 political party as attacks on the independence of the media:

We absolutely reject any attacks on journalists and independence of the media, especially after the recent events in Slovakia, and in particular those by the supreme official of the Czech Republic.

Mr Zeman, recently re-elected leader, accused the Czech media of bias and trying to manipulate the public. He specifically stated journalists from Economica, a Czech newpaper publisher, would not deserve any respect and Czech citizens should not take them seriously.

General director of Economia, Roman Latuske, denounced Mr. Zeman’s statements: “The journalists of our papers do not look for any scoops, but for the truth. They will continue with what they do in all conscience.”

Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, ECPMF Executive Board member and president of the EFJ said:

Only a week after the appalling killings of the Slovakian investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend, we witness a state leader in the region attacking journalism and media. Such offensive words against journalism that we heard on Thursday at the inauguration of the re-elected Czech president Milos Zeman lead to even more insecurity for journalists. I firmly urge the president unconditionally to support press freedom and support free media. This is one of the urgent prerequisites to stop violence against journalists.

This article first appeared on the website of the European Federation of Journalists and is re-published with kind permission of the EFJ:

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