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PM: ČR should regulate media market more

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Prague, June 24 (CTK) – The Czech Republic should more regulate the media market in the future in order to prevent it from being controlled by a single dominating player, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after meeting members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) yesterday.
Limits for media operators could be set as a percentage share of the media market, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists.
“We will probably have to solve the question of combining the [media] ownership in order to prevent the emergence of a media ownership monopoly in the Czech Republic. It is necessary for us to follow advanced countries’ example and introduce certain safeguards in our legislation,” Sobotka said.
As an example he gave the regulation of the economic competition, where the approach is different to an entity that controls 5 percent of the market and to one that controls 60 percent.
“I think we could introduce similar regulations of the media market as well, a certain barrier that would prevent the situation where one or two companies would gain full control of the Czech media environment,” Sobotka said.
His proposal need not necessarily apply to Andrej Babis, finance minister, ANO movement leader and billionaire whose business empire includes two significant national dailies, Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) and Lidove noviny (LN).
“I think two national dailies [controlled by a single owner] are still tenable,” Sobotka said.
He said the measure would not aim against concrete owners. Its goal would be to maintain the market’s diversity.
A debate on details of the plan has been underway at the Culture Ministry, Sobotka added.

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