We, Georgian and Abkhazian journalists have been taken to the Public Broadcaster of Czech Republic. News Director of the Broadcaster Zdenek SHamal is also representative of the Prague International Media Training Association (PITMA.) Zdenek received us warmly and spoke to us about the Broadcaster. Czech Public Broadcaster airs 4 channels currencly. First Channel is the main one, is more mixed by content and has only one, 8 p.m. newscast. Second Channel airs documentaries and educational programs. CT – 24 airs only news and the Fourth Channel is the sports one. Soon they plan to launch children channel. Czech Public Television is managed by the Broadcasting Council approved by the Czech Senate. As I told you in the previous letter Czech citizens pay television and radio taxes – approximately USD 5 for television and USD 2,5 for radio per month. These revenues are enough for public channels to work adequately. Media operation in Czech Republic is mainly regulated by legislation; there is a separate Law on Czech Television; Law on Radio; and Czech Television Code, adopted by experts and journalists. Along with that Decree of News Directors of Czech Republic defines how journalism must be taught to youth.
Presidential elections in Czech Republic are to be held soon; it will be first elections when President will be elected directly (until now the Senate elected the President) and television newsroom is already changing to pre-election regime.
I showed interest to salaries of journalists. Zdenek Shamal replied that salary of a good journalist is up to USD 3 000. Who is a good journalist? I asked… Whoever makes good reports and has enough experience, he said. He invited one of such good journalists to the room that we had the meeting in.
Aneta Snopova – a good-looking woman is an investigative journalist of the Public Broadcaster. Her last report was on purchase of military equipment without tender by Defense Ministry, which resulted in a scandal and resignation of high-ranking officials. This is the reaction of Czech government to investigative reports, they said; they do not kill, do not threaten journalists here, although there are some indications to personal life periodically, but that does not concern us, Aneta said. People prefer appealing to Court here, she added. Local media experts also recognize that many lawsuits against media are turned in to Czech court.
We asked about journalistic solidarity. If media representatives are unfairly oppressed and dismissed by political motives,, everyone will come out to their defense, but if a journalist makes a professional mistake, colleagues are the first ones to attack, they said. After the meeting we went to the newsroom and studios. There was nothing much to see in the studios; all the walls are vivid green, which means that they use virtual studios. From this one green studio it is possible to create many computer studio designs.
From the studio we went to the new media department. The given department occupies whole one floor of the building. All the programs are currently saved in electronic database. All the channels of the television are becoming Internet-integrated. Television management knows that number of TV-viewers decreases and number of Internet-users increases every year, so they have decided to bring television to consumers by Internet also. As they told us, Internet-viewers record was detected during the Olympics, when people watched the Public Broadcaster even via mobiles. Along with websites of main channels there also are websites of specific programs, at which viewers can leave their comments. To make the long story short, all traditional media outlets pay more and more attention to new media, as they know that the future is with the Internet.