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Opposition leader blames Babiš’s daily for censorship

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Prague, Sept 23 (CTK) – Czech opposition TOP 09 deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek has accused daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD), owned by Deputy PM Andrej Babis, of censorship since it did not publish an interview with him, Kalousek told reporters Wednesday, saying Babis’s intervention was behind it.

Mafra has dismissed the criticism. It says it used the quotes from the interview in a text about the upcoming congress of TOP 09.

The daily is a media outlet from the Mafra group, owned by the Agrofert group of Finance Minister, ANO chairman and billionaire businessman Babis.

Kalousek said Mlada fronta Dnes (MF DNES) had asked him for an interview, which had surprised him. He gave it to the paper last week and it was to be published in its Saturday issue, but was not. It did not appear in its Monday or Tuesday issues either, he added.

“And it will never be published since, as we have found out, the owner of the Mafra publishers has banned it,” said Kalousek, who ranks among major political rivals of Babis.

“I do not understand the stance of Miroslav Kalousek who has accused daily MF DNES of applying censorship since the interview was not published in the paper as one whole. On Friday, September 9, MF DNES extensively reported on the developments in TOP 09 (including Kalousek’s photograph) ahead of its upcoming congress. The TOP 09 deputy chairman was quoted in the text a lot, while the quotes come exactly from the interview that Kalousek is speaking about,” Mafra press coordinator Silvie Skabova told CTK.

She added that the interviews with TOP 09 representatives, not only with Kalousek, are prepared for the upcoming party congress.

In this connection, Kalousek spoke about “hard censorship” that was degrading democratic environment in the country.

He called the national dailies Mlada fronta Dnes and Lidove noviny, which also belongs to the Mafra group, and the communist Halo noviny propagandistic papers of their owners.

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