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Over 10,000 sign film-makers’ appeal in support of Czech TV

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Prague, March 25 (CTK) – More than 10,000 people have signed the “Five Sentences” appeal initiated by some film-makers in support of the public Czech Television (CT) in reaction to President Milos Zeman’s inauguration address attacking CT and other media, film director Jan Sverak told CTK on Sunday.

The text calls on politicians and other public personalities to resist the effort to eliminate the independence of the strongest public media outlet. The authors have also sent the appeal to MPs.

The Oscar-winning Sverak was the first to publicly read the appeal during the Czech Lion film award-giving ceremony in Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall two weeks ago.

The appeal has been signed by a number of publicly known personalities, including athletes and MPs, Sverak said.

Some 370 people added their signatures to the document directly during the Czech Lion gala evening. However, the most frequent signatories are students, tradespeople, teachers and pensioners, Sverak added.

All lower house deputies have received the appeal to their official e-mail addresses.

“Now it will be up to them. The president expressed a clear wish and they are to fulfil it now. For this purpose, they received an instruction to use the CT annual reports that the Chamber of Deputies did not manage to debate before the (last autumn) general election. Now they are to expediently serve to dissolve the CT Council and install a person subordinate to the government at the helm of the public television,” Sverak said.

In his inauguration address delivered on March 8, Zeman accused CT of siding too much with the right-wing opposition TOP 09 party. He also criticised other media for trying to manipulate the public and for bias.

The CT representatives rejected his accusations and called the attacks on the media independence unbecoming. Some politicians also condemned Zeman’s attacks on reporters.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said later that CT was not threatened in his opinion and that he would not intend to attack the public media anyhow.

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