Media the czech republic

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Jan Čulík

The Czech Republic came into being in January 1993, when Czechoslovakia, a federal state, split into two independent countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as a result of irreconcilable differences between the Czech and Slovak governments.
Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918 after the disintegration of Austria-Hungary at the end of the First World War. In the interwar period, it was a pluralist democracy with an advanced media infrastructure (Czechoslovak Radio began broadcasting in May 1923) and a vibrant, indigenous film industry (due to a sophisticated system of import duties, levied on foreign films, which financed local film production.)
Between 1938-1939, Czechoslovakia succumbed to Nazi Germany and after a semi-democratic interregnum in 1945-1948, it became a part of the totalitarian, communist Soviet Bloc in February 1948. Approximately from the mid-1960s, the communist regime found itself on the defensive: reformers within the system initiated a sustained push for freedom, using contemporary literature and culture as an instrument of democratisation. This campaign for democratic reform culminated in the so-called Prague Spring of 1968, a period of several months when Czechoslovakia enjoyed an almost absolute freedom of expression and engaged upon an intensive debate about the totalitarian excesses of its immediate past and the alternatives for its political future. This was a remarkable period in the history of the Czech media: newspapers, radio and television provided professional and highly sophisticated coverage of the issues under debate. A number of leading broadcasters emerged as figures of national importance. Equally remarkable was the work of the Czechoslovak media during the first week of Soviet occupation, following the Warsaw Pact military invasion of 21st August 1968 which put a stop to the Prague Spring. From the early hours of the invasion, the media went underground, defying the invading forces, and provided a round the clock, independent news service, calling for sensible, peaceful resistance and preventing chaos and bloodshed. A network of regional studios was quickly set up and the "Free Czechoslovak Radio" was never silenced by the invading armies.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Czechoslovakia suffered a revenge for the liberalising 1960s and their culmination, the Prague Spring. The Soviet Union threw the country into a harsh, neostalinist mode and instigated a direct assault on the Czechoslovak intelligentsia. The media was purged of all the reformists and was turned into a machine which spouted out emotional, ideological propaganda, whose intensity remained practically unchanged until the fall of communism in 1989. Oppression in the 1970s and 1980s was much stronger in Czechoslovakia than in the other Central European communist countries. As a result, journalism was practically destroyed as a profession. It was particularly destructive that journalists in this period were expected systematically to publish lies in support of the occupying regime and that the population knew that journalists were lying to them.
Under communism, all the media were state-owned. From 1990 onwards, the state-owned newspapers came into private hands. The privatisation of newspapers was often questionable For many, the pattern used was that of the Mladá fronta (Young Front) daily. The old state-owned newspaper was technically closed down, so that there would be no legal continuity. A new paper was founded by private owners with a very similar name, Mladá fronta Dnes (Young Front Today) (later shortened to MF Dnes [YF Today]). Thus the new private owners could take over the trademark of the old newspaper, its subscribers and its share of the market without paying any compensation to the state for the acquired property. Thus, for instance, the former communist party daily Rudé právo (Red Rights) became a privately owned, left-of-centre newspaper Právo ([Our] Rights), Zemědělské noviny (The Farmer´s Daily) became Zemské noviny (The Country Daily), Večerní Praha (The Evening Prague) became Večerník Praha (The Prague Evening Paper). Most of these privatised newspapers were eventually sold by the new Czech owners to foreign media companies at a profit.
The destruction of the professional media in Czechoslovakia of the 1970s and 1980s cast a shadow over the development of the Czech media in the 1990s. The most discredited communist propagandists had to leave the media, but many rank and file journalists simply switched sides. These individuals rarely found in themselves the courage to produce independent and critical writing because they could at any time be accused of behaving questionably in the past. Until approximately 1996 – 1997, most of the Czech media uncritically supported the right of centre government of Václav Klaus and various anticommunist campaigns. Many young people without a political past and without journalistic experience were taken on by the Czech media in the 1990s: thus a typical Czech journalist was usually much younger than 30. A lack of continuous tradition of professional and/or investigative journalism meant than most of the journalistic output of the 1990s was timid, unenterprising, superficial and conventional. Most of the print media ended up in foreign hands, there was little funding for systematic, in-depth investigative journalism. Foreign newspaper owners were interested in quick profits and were not bound to the obligations of public service journalistic work.


There are currently three major, "serious" daily political newspapers in the Czech Republic (their average daily printruns in December 2001 are given in bracketsi): Mladá fronta Dnes (The Young Front Today) (309 226), Právo (Our Rights) (213 964) and Lidové noviny (The People´s Paper) (88 835). Mladá fronta Dnes and Právo have gone through a questionable privatisation process (see above) and have developed into privately-owned newspapers from state-owned dailies, published in the communist era. Lidové noviny was created by dissidents as a photocopied monthly with a printrun of 400 copies, two years before the fall of communism. A newspaper called Lidové noviny used to be a leading daily in Czechoslovakia before the Second World War and several unsuccessful attempts have been made to emulate the pre-war example since 1989.
Mladá fronta Dnes is a middle-brow daily of a right-of-centre orientation. It caters for the intellectually undemanding general reader, whom it addresses not only with news and comment, but also with various advertising, marketing, regional and special interest supplements. The political views of MFD are close to the views of the right-of-centre Freedom Union party, a small political organisation with considerable influence on the Czech media, especially those which are based in Prague. Právo is a left-of-centre daily whose commentary and analysis tends to be of a slightly higher quality than those of MFD. The political views of Právo are close to the views of the ruling Social Democratic Party. Právo also supports indigenous Czech capital against international competition, for instance the chief executive of commercial Nova Television in his dispute with the US company Central European Media Enterprises (see below). Some people in the Czech Republic refuse to read Právo because they associate it with its predecessor, the Communist Party propaganda mouthpiece Rudé právo from the years before 1989. After the fall of communism, Lidové noviny was an attempt to create an authoritative intellectual newspaper, along the lines of the London Times. This attempt has not been successful. After several radical changes of staff, direction and ownership, Lidové noviny is now struggling to increase its readership by introducing tabloid themes while trying to retain its reputation of a newspaper read by the "cultural elite". Lidové noviny is moderately right-of-centre.
Hospodářské noviny (The Economic Daily) (December 2001 daily average printrun 74 968ii) specialises in economic and business issues; some critics accuse this newspaper of being a haven of inflexible, bureaucratic practice, surviving from the communist past. Sport (59 254) is a daily newspaper, devoted to sporting events. The Czech Republic currently has two major nationwide tabloid newspapers, Blesk (Flash) (average daily printrun 320 913) and Super (132 946). Super supports Václav Klaus´s Civic Democratic Party and Vladimír Železný´s Nova Television.

With the exception of Právo, which is owned by Borgis, a.s., and controlled by the newspaper´s editor-in-chief, a communist era Rudé právo journalist Zdeněk Porybný, the other daily newspapers in the Czech Republic are in foreign hands. Mladá fronta Dnes and Lidové noviny are owned by Rheinisch-Bergische Druckerei- und Verlagsgesellschaft GmbH, a company based in Düsseldorf, Germany. Blesk and Sport (as well as a number of weekly publications) are owned by the Swiss publishing firm Ringier, (its Czech subsidiary is registered as the property of Ringier-Springer (Nederland) B.V., based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Super is owned by "e-media", which is the property of the Austrian firm Epic Holding. Hospodářské noviny is owned by Economia, over which the German newspaper Handelsblatt and the US daily Wall Street Journal jointly exercise a majority ownership. With the exception of some small variations, the printruns of the Czech national newspapers have been in gentle decline over the past two years.

The Czech daily regional press is fully owned by a single company, Vltava Labe Press (PNP) which is the property of Pol-Print GmbH &Co. Medien KG, a company based in Passau,

Germany. The group Vltava Labe Press (PNP) has bought out all the Czech regional newspapers, sacked most of the journalists and replaced the papers with a centrally produced publication with local variations on one or two pages only. Even in the two national newspapers it owns, Zemské noviny and Slovo, several pages are identical each day. This practice seems to have destroyed these two national newspapers: the average daily printrun of Zemské noviny (The Country Newspaper) dropped from 342 000 copies in January 2000 to 39 000 in September 2001; the daily printrun of Slovo (The Word) decreased from 53 000 in January 2000 to 8400 copies in December 2001.

Vltava Labe Press (PNP) controls Czech regional daily publishing through its network of regional newspapers Deníky Bohemia (The Bohemia Daily Newspapers). Recently, this company completed the acquisition of all the remaining regional daily newspapers in Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic. Deníky Bohemia have now in total the highest daily printrun of all the Czech newspapers. If the printruns of all their regional variations are added together, Deníky Bohemia tops the league with the daily printrun of 442 290 copiesiii. However, some observers point out that these are local newspapers and probably do not strongly influence the political views of the readers.

In January 2002, the regional newspapers, owned by Vltava Labe Press (PNP) attracted in total the highest volume of advertising, 104,3 million Czech crownsiv. Mladá fronta Dnes was in the second place with 102 million Czech crowns. The amounts of advertising, attracted by other daily Czech newspapers in January 2002, are given in millions of Czech crowns in brackets after their titles: Blesk (32,8) Právo (23,3) Hospodářské noviny (23,2), Lidové noviny (22,9), Sport (7,2), Super (5,8). Over the past three years, MFD has increased its advertising income by more than 25 per cent, but the increase has not been steady; the movements in advertising income at other newspapers have been variable.
The most influential weekly newsmagazines are possibly Týden (The Week) (published by Swiss citizen Sebastian Pawlowski; 50 000 weekly sold copies), Respekt (a right of centre political weekly, close to the Freedom Union political party, which is published by Prince Karl Schwarzenberg, a former Chancellor to Czech President Václav Havel, 30 000 copies), and the economic magazines Ekonom (The Economist) (28 000 copies), published by Economia, a.s., and its competitor Euro (23 500 copies)¸ brought out by the Czech company Euronews, a.s. v
Reflex (one of the magazines published by Ringier, 60 000 weekly sold copies) stands on the borderline between a current affairs periodical and a "society" glossy. The Czech magazine market is otherwise dominated by tabloid and lifestyle periodicals. The most widely circulated lifestyle magazine is Rytmus života (The Rythm of Life), published by Europress (240 000 copies), the Sunday edition of the tabloid Blesk, brought out by Ringier, sells 206 000 copies; Mona Prague, owned by VNU Magazine Group International, B.V. from Haarlem, the Netherlands, publishes a number of other widely read lifestyle magazines, such as Týdeník Květy (The Blossoms Weekly) (160 000 copies) and Story (135 000 copies); similar tabloid glossies are also produced by Stratosféra, a company co-owned by the Dutch firm VNU Hearst Prague B.V. from Haarlem. The most successful of these is Spy (132 000 copies).vi The most widely-read glossies feature celebrity gossip, and soft porn, including advice on the readers´s sexual problems.
In January 2002, Týden acquired advertising worth 4,1 million Czech crowns, Respekt 1,1 million crowns, Reflex 3,7 million crowns, Týdeník Květy 6,4 million crowns, Spy 6,9 million Czech crowns. vii
After the fall of communism in 1989, the book publishing market was liberalised. While there were some 50 state-owned publishing houses in Czechoslovakia under the communist regime, currently there are more than 2700 registered book publishers in the Czech Republic only. When censorship fell, a wave of hitherto banned publications flooded the market, but the public soon tired of the banned literature. The average printruns, which used to reach tens of thousands of copies under communism, stabilised at about 3000 copies. Currently, only some 150 publishers bring out more than 20 titles annually. In 1999, 1270 publishers produced at least one title. Some 200 Czech publishing houses produce 80 per cent of the overall book production in the country. 5 per cent VAT is levied on book production in the Czech Republic.
It is estimated that some 12 500 thousand book titles were brought out by Czech publishing houses annually by the end of the 1990s. While the average printrun has been decreasing throughout the decade, the number of published titles has been on the increase. Approximately 90 per cent of all published books are in Czech, English is the most frequently used foreign language in book publishing. Unusually, some thirty per cent of all published books are fiction: this is still due to the fact that many works of literature were banned in Czechoslovakia for half a century and there is still much catching up: the proportion of fiction is slowly decreasing. Many fiction titles, published now, belong to the category of escapist, "romantic", sentimental literature. Translations from 32 languages formed a third of all published books in 1999. Only 12,3 percent of all published books were textbooks.
Throughout the 1990s, there were serious problems with book distribution. The state distribution system was broken up after the fall of communism and was gradually replaced by some 70 private distribution firms which are trying to compete against each other often with a very limited range of book titles and technological and professional backup. After the fall of communism, many bookshops were liquidated, but the situation improved and there are some 800 permanent specialised bookshops in the Czech Republic: more than there were prior to the fall of communism. Books are sold at approximately 2000 places in the Czech Republic now.
Book prices are not fixed nationally like in France or Germany, but most booksellers respect the prices recommended by publishers. However, books are often sold at remaindered prices, even quite soon after publication, due to publishers or distributors´s financial problems: this destabilises the market. Nové knihy (New Books) a nationwide weekly bibliographical list of newly published titles, has recently collapsed and no up to date comprehensive information is now available. The Union of Czech Booksellers started publishing the annual Books in Print in 1996.
There are no marketing analyses dealing with the functioning of the book market in the Czech Republic. Booksellers are being offered ever more titles and so they order ever fewer copies. They constantly look for more titles and rarely restock the older ones. Only 5 – 7 percent of booksellers use computer technology for distribution, sales and ordering. viii


Czechoslovak state television began broadcasting on 1st May 1953, its second programme went on the air in May 1970; from 1983 Czechoslovakia also broadcast on its territory the first programme of Russian television for the occupying Soviet troops. After the fall of communism, state-owned Czechoslovak Television was turned into a public service system. From 1992, there was a federal, Czechoslovak channel and a Czech and a Slovak television station. After the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993, Czech Television retained two nationwide terrestrial channels: the mainstream programme ČT 1 and the cultural programme ČT 2.

In 1993, the regulatory authority, the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting awarded for free a television licence for a commercial, culturally oriented nationwide terrestrial television station to a consortium of six Czech and Slovak individuals, headed by Vladimír Železný, and Ronald Lauder´s company Central European Development Corporation, which later became Central European Media Enterprises (CME). The new commercial television station, Nova TV, (the "Czech Independent Television Station", ČNTS) started broadcasting on 4th February 1994. From its inception, it dropped the cultural remit and went aggresively for downmarket, tabloid broadcasting, including pornography. The financial success of the station was phenomenal. According to estimates, in the first years of its existence it was watched by some seventy per cent of the Czech audiences. In the third year of its broadcasting, Nova TV recorded operational profit of 45 million US dollars on the basis of turnover of 109 million US dollars. In 1995, a dividend of 12 million US dollars was paid out by the TV companyix.
The American company CME wished to strengthen its hold on the television station, so it bought out the the participation interest in ČNTS from the original Czech and Slovak founders of the station, achieving 99 per cent ownership. At the same time CME made it possible for Vladimír Železný to acquire a 60 per cent majority in CET 21, the licence holder, hoping that he would always represent CME´s interests. But from 1998, Železný began, in secret, to act against the interests of CME, so in April 1999, he was sacked from the post of Chief Executive of ČNTS. Železný then found indigenous financial backers in the Czech Republic and in August 1999, he switched the American-backed Nova TV (ČNTS) off the air, replacing it with his own Nova TV Mark 2, funded by Czech money. CME sued Železný and the Czech Republic at the international chamber of commerce in Amsterdam and the Czech side lost. Železný is to re-pay CME 28 million dollars and the Czech Republic is to pay CME 500 million dollars in damages. Information about who are the current owners of Nova TV is not available: their identities are covered by a number of front organisations.
Although attempts have been made since the fall of communism to turn the former Czechoslovak Television, a communist propaganda tool, into a public service station, these attempts have not been on the whole successful. Czech Television has remained a large, untransparent, post-communist colossus of some 4000 employees with its own internal ethos. In 1993 – 1998, Czech Television´s Chief Executive Ivo Mathé continued to place emphasis on entertainment. Mathé was a good technical manager and provided the TV station with up to date technology. News and current affairs remained relatively undeveloped in his era. After Mathé´s departure, several attempts have been made, since 1998, to professionalise Czech TV, in particular its news and current affairs department and to open up its finances to public scrutiny. (Czech TV is financed by a compulsory licence fee, amounting to some 5 billion Czech crowns annually, which is levied from all television viewers.) A fourth attempt at reform failed spectacularly in December 2000 – January 2001, when the Council for Czech Television appointed a former BBC journalist Jiří Hodač as Czech Television´s Chief Executive. This appointment resulted in an open rebellion by Czech TV employees, led by the news and current affairs department, whose members, fearing a professional audit, turned, in order to protect their position of unaccountability, an internal labour dispute into a public political struggle.
In December 2000, on hearing about the appointment of Jiří Hodač, the TV rebels began to transmit highly emotional broadcasts, hijacking the output of the station for their own ends. They aligned themselves with an opposition political party (the Freedom Union) and used popular discontent with the government of the day to bring out some 80 000 people to demonstrate in the streets of Prague against an alleged government attempt to stifle the independence of Czech TV. The new Chief Executive with the BBC experience was deposed within a matter of days and things reverted to the status quo ante. The Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting has characterised the Czech TV rebellion as "probably the most serious crisis since the fall of communism in 1989"x and has imposed the highest possible fine, 2 million Czech crowns, on Czech TV for the behaviour of its employees during the TV rebellion.
After the TV rebellion, Czech Parliament changed the Czech Television Act, stipulating that from now on, the selection process leading to the appointment of a new Czech Television Chief Executives must be transparent and fully open to public scrutiny in all its stages. But in the autumn of 2001, a new Council for Czech Television appointed a new permanent Chief Executive in secret, in direct contradiction to the new law, thus opening itself to possible accusations that political pressure was at play. The appointee, Jiří Balvín, was a Czech TV insider, representing the internal ethos of this unreconstructed, large post-communist institution.
A number of well known Prague cultural figures supported the Czech TV rebellion, fearing, with some justification that the opening of the finances of Czech Television might compromise the often informal, subcontractors´ infrastructure on which many film makers and other cultural workers were financially dependent. They were afraid that the role of Czech Television as the only major surviving source of cultural subsidy for the support of the work of Prague artists and intellectuals might end.
There is another commercial TV broadcaster, TV Prima, which has developed from a regional broadcaster and was temporarily owned by the Czech Investment and Postal Bank (IPB), This had succumbed to corruption and had to be renationalised by the Czech government. Currently, the true identity of the owners of the station is not known, but in the spring of 2001, there arose problems between the bank which currently controls IPB and Domeana, the firm which represents the current owners of TV Prima.
Czech internet daily Britské listy is suing the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting in order to force it to reveal the real owners of Nova TV and Prima TV. The Council argues that the law prevents it from revealing the identities of the true owners.
More regulatory problems arose in the autumn of 2001 in connection with a regional TV station TV Galaxy, which broadcasts for Prague and Hradec Králové and on satellite and cable. The TV station, whose licence holder is Martin Kindernay, also transmits programming made by a satellite and cable TV station TV 3, owned by the Luxembourg-based company European Media Ventures. The Luxembourg company tried to seize Martin Kindernay´s licence and thereby to gain control over the terrestrial broadcasting of TV Galaxy in the cities of Prague and Hradec Králové; the Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting made steps to prevent thisxi
The viewing figures of all main Czech television stations are relatively stable, except that the popularity of ČT 1 dropped from 28 per cent in 1998 to 21 per cent in 2001 and the viewing figures for Prima TV rose during the same period from 9 per cent to 17,5 per cent. The viewing figures for Nova TV have remained around 50 per cent overe the past few years and the viewing figures for the cultural public service channel ČT 2 have stayed at about 8 per cent. The viewing figures for the rest of the TV sector, i.e. for cable and satellite channels do not exceed 5 per centxii. There are currently 15 satellite TV broadcasters, registered in the Czech Republicxiii and 94 cable TV broadcastersxiv. The three most influential cable consortia are headed by foreign companies: (a) UPC Czech Holding B.V., the Netherlands, owned by United Pan-Europe Communications N.V., the Netherlands; (b) Intercable CZ, s.r.o. – Vision Networks Tsjechie Holding, B.V., the Netherlands; and (c) TES Media, spol. s r.o. - Central Europe Cable Holdings a.s. (ING Baring, USA).
Czech Republic has a public service Czech Radio, which is financed by a compulsorily levied licence fee. Czech Radio operates the following nationwide stations: Radiožurnál (on FM and AM), a mixture of news and current affairs and popular music, ČRo 2 – Prague (on FM and AM), a programme for older listeners ČRo 3 - Vltava (on FM only), a cultural programme and ČRo 6 – RSE (on AM only) a current affairs programme, formerly put out by the Czech Service of the American station Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which was hived off from the US broadcaster in 1994, turned into a separate, privately owned station and later incorporated into public service Czech Radio. Czech Radio also operates eight regional studios which contribute some of their output to the nationwide stations and also run their own, regional programming. There are only two commercial nationwide radio stations (Frekvence 1 and Radio Impuls) and more than sixty independent regional stations, some of which broadcast for several regions or larger towns. These include the BBC (which broadcasts the output of its Czech Service and some programmes of the BBC World Service in English) and the French-owned radio station Evropa 2. ČRo 1 – Radiožurnál has a 12,2 per cent share of the listening public, ČRo 2 – Praha has 6,6 per cent, Radio Impuls has 13, 4 percent, Frekvence 1 has 9,5 per cent.
According to estimates, 14,32 billion Czech crowns was on advertising in the Czech Republic during 2001. 6,05 billion Czech crowns (42,2 per cent) spent on TV advertising, 1 billion Czech crowns (5,6 per cent) 40,4 per cent) on radio advertising, 5,78 billion Czech crowns on newspaper advertising, 0,17 billion Czech crowns (1,2 per cent) on internet advertising. xv

Unlike Czech literature, which does not seem to have produced any major works since the fall of communism, Czech cinema seems to have quickly overcome the crisis of the early 1990s and is now producing major and important new work. In 1990-2, the Czech government gradually abolished the state monopoly of film making which had existed from 1945. In 1992, the Czech government created a State Fund for the Support of Czech Film Making, which is controlled by the Culture Ministry. Since 1994, the Czech Republic has been a member of the Council of Europe´s Eurimage Fund for the support of film coproduction and distribution and of the Europe-wide institution Eureka Audiovisuel. In 2000, the Eurimage programme supported the distrubution of 20 European features films in the Czech Republic to the tune of 5,2 million Czech crowns.xvi

While under communism, 35 – 40 feature films were made in Czechoslovakia annually, in the second half of the 1990s, between 15 – 20 features were made in the Czech Republic, most of them with financial support by Czech public service Television. According to some observers feature film making in the Czech Republic would collapse without the support of Czech Television. In 1990, shortly after the fall of communism, 51,4 million cinema tickets were sold, in 1995- 2000, only some 9 million tickets were sold annually. Systematic state support for film making is still lacking, due to unsolved legislative problems. The Fund for the Support of Czech Film Making provides grants for filmmakers to the tune of some 60 – 70 million Czech crowns annually. In 2000, the Czech state supported various cinematographic activities by the sum of 123 million Czech crowns, in 1999 it was 77 million Czech crowns. xvii The four most successful films in 2000 were Princezna ze mlejna (Princess from the Mill) (Czech Republic, Bontonfilm) 481 000 sold tickets, Samotáři (Loners) (Czech Republic, Cinemart) 442 000 sold tickets, Gladiator (USA) 379 000 sold tickets and The Sixth Sense (USA) 332 000 sold tickets. Feature films are also released on video and on DVD: the videodistributors´ income reached 1 billion Czech crowns in 2000: 390 million Czech crowns was income from hiring films out, 460 million Czech crowns was income from videocassette sales and 110 million Czech crowns was income from DVD sales. Bonton Home Video controlled 36 per cent of the video market in 2000; Warner Home Video controlled 26 per cent of the market.
The first computer in Czechoslovakia, owned by the Prague Technological University (ČVUT) was connected to the internet in November 1991. Officially, Czechoslovakia was connected to the internet in February 1992. Initially, the internet was developed in Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic by lectureres from technological universitites. Since 1995, it has been possible to use the internet commercially. In 1999, under considerable public pressure, the Czech Telecom introduced lower dial-up charges, which are still however considered as too high and as a barrier to wider accessibility to the internet.xviii
Most Czech government and civil service departments have internet pages. The Czech Register of Companies is freely accessible on the net. The Czech government has a programme of introducing the internet to schools and the general public, although its realization lags behind the countries in Western Europe. All major newspapers in the Czech republic have their internet pages. The broadcasting of public service radio and a number of commercial stations is available on the internet. Czech public service TV and commercial Nova TV make their news and current affairs programmes available on the net. A number of Czech internet providers operate portals which offer a basic news and information service, as well as a search engine (,, While the internet versions of established newspapers have the strongest commercial impact, there are some internet only daily publications (cf. Britské listy, which attempt to do investigative journalism and challenge the conventional interpretation of events, as presented by the indigenous mainstream media.
In December 2000, 14 per cent of Czech households had access to the internet. In 2000, almost 80 per cent of the users of the internet in the Czech Republic were men. Women usually did not have access to their own computer and used the internet once a week, men used the internet daily. By 2001, the number of women users grew to 25 per cent. Students form one third of the users. More than 50 percent of the users are under the age of 25. 80 per cent of all users are under the age of 35. Many of the youngest users share a computer when accessing the net; up to 5 young users often share the same machine. People over the age of 25 usually have a computer of their own. 26 percent of the users are university educated, 62 per cent of the users have secondary education. Most users of the internet still come from the information technology sector. Most users live in large cities or their vicinity. 60 per cent of Czech internet users use the net daily.
The media in the Czech Republic is primarily regulated by the Press Act (No. 46/2000 of the Collection of Laws, promulgated in February 2001) and by the Act on Radio and TV Broadcasting (latest update in May 2001). It is also governed by the Czech Bill of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (Act. No. 23/1991 of the Collection of Laws, promulgated on 9th January 1991). The Czech Syndicate of Journalists published a "Journalist´s Code of Ethics" on 18th June 1998.
According to the Czech Press Act, the publisher of a periodical is responsible for the truthfulness of published information. Individuals who consider themselves harmed by information published by a periodical or in the electronic media have a legal right to demand the publication of their reply. The Czech Press Act gives journalists the right to protect their sources of information, unless the sources are involved in a criminal act. Periodicals which are not properly registered with the Culture Ministry may be fined.
The main regulatory organs for the media are the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, the Council for Czech (public service) Television, the Council for Czech (public service) Radio, the Advertising Council. As can be seen from the above, especially from the recent history of Czech Television and Nova Television, the regulatory institutions in the Czech Republic are weak and are often accused of political bias.
The future of the media in the Czech Republic depends on future developments in the political arena. At the moment, the main political parties exercise influence over the main media outlets, especially the principal television stations, through informal behind-the-scenes contacts with top management. It seems unlikely that the situation might change in the future: politicians in the Czech Republic find it convenient to have docile and emasculated media. Foreign owners do not seem to interfere in politics in the Czech Republic at the moment since most political developments in the country are too abstruse for outsiders and are locked in the "inaccessible" Czech langage. Foreign media owners seem to be keen to exploit the Czech market for profits, flooding it with low brow entertainment material. This influence of the downmarket international media sector is likely to grow stronger in the Czech Republic in future.

  1. Population and number of households:
    10 294 822 (2001 Census); number of households as economic units: 3 983 900 (1991)

  1. Overall movie admissions:

8,719 million annually (2000)

3. The titles of the main daily newspapers and their circulation (December 2001):
Mladá fronta Dnes (309 226)

Právo (213 964)

Lidové noviny (88 835)

Hospodářské noviny (74 968)
Tabloid newspapers:

Blesk (320 913)

Super (132 646)
Sporting daily:

Sport (59 254)
Regional newspapers, produced centrally:

Deníky Bohemia (442 290)

  1. The names of the main terrestrial, cable and sattelite TV channels
    (meaning 50% plus national reach) with audience share of each:

Main terrestrial TV stations: Public service:

ČT1: 20,61 %

ČT2: 11,49 %
Privately owned:

TV Nova: 45,55%

Prima TV: 17,42 % (data from January – February 2002)
Main cable TV providers:

UPC ČR, s.r.o.

Intercable CZ, s.r.o.
Satellite TV providers:

HBO ČR, s.r.o.: film channel

EastBox Digital, s.r.o. – 18 thematic programmes
5. Main radio channels, public and private, with audience reach (share of
audience) (data from the second half of 2001):

Public service radio:
ČRo 1-Radiožurnál: 1.012.000 (share: 12,2 %)

ČRo 2-Praha: 456.000 (share: 6,6%)

ČRo Brno: 142.000 (share: 2%)

ČRo České Budějovice: 107.000 (1,4%)

ČRo Plzeň: 68.000 (0,8%)

ČRo 3-Vltava: 67.000 (0,7%)

ČRo Hradec Králové: 62.000 (0,9%)

ČRo 6-RSE: 52.000 (0,4%)

ČRo-Regina 1: 39.000 (0,4%)

ČRo Ústí nad Labem: 36.000 (0,4%)

ČRo Olomouc: 28.000 (0,3%)

ČRo Ostrava: 28.000 (0,4%)

Private radio stations:


Radio Impuls: 979.000 (13,4%)

Frekvence 1: 749.000 (9,5%)

Radio Blaník: 347.000 (5%)

Country Radio: 152.000 (2%)

Kiss Hády: 130.000 (1,7%)

Radio Orion: 129.000 (1,6%)

Radio Vysočina: 114.000 (1,7%)

Radio Čas: 108.000 (1,4%)

6. Audience reach (percentage of households) of all main forms of
satellite, cable or terrestrial pay-tv:

Main cable TV providers:
UPC ČR, s.r.o.: operates 372 000 sockets, reaches 700 000 households

Intercable CZ, s.r.o.: operates 200 000 sockets, reaches 350 000 households

TES Media, spol. s r.o.: operates 85.000 sockets
Main satellite TV providers:
EastBox Digital, s.r.o.

FTV Prima, s.r.o.

CET 21, s.r.o.

HBO Česká republika, s.r.o.

Česká programová společnost, s.r.o.

There are no terrestrial pay TV stations in the Czech Republic.

7. Percentage of households with VCRs, satellite receivers , DVDs (data from 2000):
video: 48%

satellite receivers: 8,8 %

cable TV: 25,4 %

DVD: no exact data available

8. Percentage of households with Digital reception by any means:
No licenses for the broadcasting of digital TV channels have been awarded in the Czech Republic.

9. Internet household penetration and use figures:

14 per cent households had access to internet in December 2000.

10. Mobile phone and use figures:
68,9% inhabitants had a mobile telephone at the end of 2001.
Eurotel had 3 240 000 customers (31,5 % of the total population).

Paegas had 3 000 000 customers (29,1 % of the total population).

Oskar had 858.400 customers (8,33 % total population).
Up to 15 per cent mobile telephone users own at least two SIM cards issued by two different operators.

12. Identification of main media companies and the size of their holdings
of press and TV, in terms of actual channels/titles or share of market
The largest daily press publishers:
Blesk, Ringier, ČR, a.s. average daily printrun 320 913

MF Dnes, Mafra, a.s, average daily printrun 309 226

Právo, Borgis, a.s., average daily printrun 213 964

Super, E-media, a.s., average daily printrun 132 646

Lidové noviny, Lidové noviny, a.s., average daily printrun 88 835

Hospodářské noviny, Economia, a.s., average daily printrun 74968

Mafra, a.s. and Lidové noviny, a.s. are owned by Rheinisch-Bergische Druckerei- und Verlaggesellschaft, GmbH, Germany, E-Media is owned by Epic Holding, Austria, Economia is controlled jointly by the Wall Street Journal and Handelsblatt.
The following major companies also publish magazines:
Ringier ČR:

ABC mladých techniků a přírodovědců, Blesk, Blesk magazín, Nedělní Blesk, Reflex, Týdeník Televize.
MAFRA, a.s. (owned by Rheinisch-Bergische Druckerei- und Verlaggesellschaft, GmbH, Germany):

Magazín Dnes+TV, the internet news portal iDnes, Mladá fronta Dnes
Axel Springer Praha, a. s.:

Auto Exclusive, F1 Racing, Playboy, Auto Tip, Autoprofi, Svět motorů, Hokej, Popcorn

Bertelsmann Springer Cz, s. r. o.:

Technický týdeník, Doprava a silnice, Istav – Informace ve stavebnictví, Stavba, Můj dům, Stavební příručka, Stavebniny pro můj dům, Mozaika, Katalog užitkových vozidel, Trucker, Materiály pro stavbu, Katalog rodinných domů. Truck Katalog – Katalog užitkových vozidel, Doprava a cesty, Spotřebiče pro domácnost, Koupelna a její vybavení, Okna, dveře, zimní zahrady, Vytápění, Podlahy, Panel Story
Borgis, a. s.:

Magazín Dům a bydlení, Magazín Právo, Právo, TV, Televizní týden

Burda Praha, s. r. o.:

Anna, Křížovky, Katka, Speciál Cinema, Autohit, Betynka, Byrda, Náš útulný byt, Nejlepší recepty, Naše krásná zahrada, Bydlíme s květinami, Svět ženy
Československý sport, s.r.o. (owned by Ringier):

Sport, Volno
E-MEDIA, a.s. (owned by Epic Holding, Austria):

Super, Super Magazín, Super neděle

Economia, a. s. (controlled by the Wall Street Journal and Handelsblatt):

Hospodářské noviny, Marketing & Media, Právní rádce, Moderní obec, Bankovnictví, Ekonom, Listy, Logistika, Moderní řízení, Obchodní věstník, Odpady, Ovel, Stavitel, Technik,,, Víkend HN
Europress, k.s.:

Bravo, Bravo Girl! Bydlení, Chvilka pro tebe, Napsáno životem, Praktik, Rytmus života, Tina, Žena a život, Dívka, Čas na lásku
Lidové noviny, a. s. (owned by Rheinisch-Bergische Druckerei- und Verlaggesellschaft, GmbH, Germany):

Lidové noviny, Pátek Lidových novin

Mona, spol. s r. o. (owned by VNU Magazine Group International, B.V.):

Puls, Praktická žena, Ring, Story, Týdeník Květy, Vlasta, Beau Monde – Báječný svět, Překvapení, Střecha nad hlavou, Kuchyně pro labužníky, Půdní byt, Nové byty a pozemky, Koupelka, Men´s Health, Postgraduální medicina, Sestra, Zdravotnické noviny,, Singmaking, Strategie,
Vltava-Labe Press, a.s.:

Deníky Moravia, SD, Severočeské deníky Bohemia, Jihočeské Deníky Bohemia, Západočeské Deníky Bohemia, Večerník Praha, Východočeské Deníky Bohemia, Středočeské Deníky Bohemia, Slovácko, Naše Opavsko, Týden u nás, Vyškovské noviny, Břeclavsko, Prostějovský týden, Nové Přerovsko, Hranický týden, Moravský sever, Slovácké noviny, Naše Valašsko, Nový život
The largest private radio stations:

Frekvence 1, a.s.

Largest owners:

Europe Développement International, a.s. 63,75%

Evropa 2,s.r.o. 25,50%
Radio Impuls:


Ing. Ivan Baťka 34 %

Eurocast Rundfunk Beteiligungs GmbH 66 %

Main commercial TV broadcasters:

CET 21/TV Nova




PhDr. Vl. Železný


VILJA a.s.

21,46 %

Mgr. P. Kršák


CEDC Manag. Services GmbH


Česká spořitelna, a.s.


MEF Media, a.s.


EDIKON, a.s.



100,00 %

FTV PREMIÉRA, spol. s r.o. – Prima TV

Domeana, spol. s r.o.: 29,35 % (100% owned by GES Holding, a.s.)

GES Real Investment, s.r.o.: 70,65 %

The largest Czech cable TV providers:

UPC Česká republika, a.s. (UPC Czech Holding B.V., Nizozemsko, owned by United Pan-Europe Communications N.V., Nizozemsko)


ICT Inc. L. Angeles 0,03%

UPC Czech Holding B.V. 99,97%

Intercable CZ, s.r.o - VISION NETWORKS TSJECHIE HOLDING B.V., Nizozemsko


Vision Networks Tsjechie Holding B.V. 100,00%

TES Media spol, s.r.o. – Central Europe Cable Holdings a.s. (ING Baring, USA)


Central Europe Cable Holdings, a.s. 100,00%

Satellite TV providers:

EastBox DIGITAL, s. r. o.


New Media Investment, SA, 1 7000 Fribourg, Švýcarsko 100,00%

HBO Česká republika, s.r.o.



13. Number of book titles published:
Some 12 500 titles annually by the end of the 1990s.

i Source: ABC ČR, the details published by M&M (Media &Marketing),

ii ditto.

iii ditto.

iv Source: A.C. Nielsen, the details published by M&M (Media &Marketing),

v Source:

vi Source: ABC ČR, the details published by M&M (Media &Marketing),

vii Source: A.C. Nielsen, the details published by M&M (Media &Marketing),

viii See the internet pages of the Union of Czech Booksellers and the analysis by its Chairperson, Dr. Jaroslav Císař, at

ix See the relevant quarterly and annual reports, submitted by CME to the US capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Commission,

x See the 2001 Annual Report of the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, Section 3.2.1,

xi See the 2001 Annual Report of the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, Section 3.2.4,

xii See the report (in Czech) at

xiii See the 2001 Annual Report of the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, Section 3.3,

xiv See the 2001 Annual Report of the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, Section 3.4,

xv See Mediální trh v roce 2001 (The Media Market in 2001),

xvi See the information of the Czech Culture Ministry (in Czech)

xvii Report on the current state of the Czech Cinematography, 2000, the Czech Culture Ministry, Prague.

xviii See the Report on internet in the Czech Republic (Výzkum internetu) Network media service and the Czech Culture ministry,, 2000,

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