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HN: Foreign Min trying to influence foreign broadcasts

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Prague, June 20 (CTK) – The Foreign Ministry is trying to influence the broadcasts abroad by the programme Radio Praha, a part of the public broadcaster Czech Radio (CRo) that is responsible for its content, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) writes yesterday.
After decades of foreign broadcasts in CRo, propaganda seems to have reappeared, HN writes.
In this way, one can call the contributions prepared by reporters not because they may be substantial for their listeners, but because they were wished by the Foreign Ministry that finances the radio station, it adds.
This year, this is the sum of 27 million crowns, HN writes.
Czech news in English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Czech are broadcast by Radio Praha.
Reporters working for decades there say the board was independent for many years, as it is common in similar stations in advanced democracies, HN writes.
However, this changed at the end of last year when the work was resumed by the Consultancy Council for Foreign Broadcasts, it adds.
In it, the Foreign Ministry is represented by former deputy foreign minister Petr Drulak, current head of Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek’s office, HN writes.
Since the end of last year, the Foreign Ministry has been sending priority topics that should appear in the broadcasting to the board of Radio Praha, it adds.
This was confirmed by Dominik Jun, an external worker of the English section.
“This is a pure, downright scandal,” he told the paper.
The information on determining the topics to be broadcast was confirmed by another five reporters from various sections who requested anonymity for fear that they might lose their jobs, HN writes.
“These include foreign trips and visits by foreign delegations as well as bizarre affairs such as international days of the United Nations,” it adds.
As demanded by the ministry, a report of the English section on the May visit to Africa by Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka was produced, HN writes.
Its opening was reminiscent of the rhetoric of the Communist press, it adds.
“Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka is leading a Czech business delegation to Nigeria and Senegal with the aim of intensifying political and economic relations,” HN writes.
“His talks with senior representatives in Abuja have uncovered a potential for cooperation in the spheres of energy, infrastructure and security,” it adds.
Drulak has written to HN, arguing that he does not know anything “about any influencing,” asking the board to communicate with the Foreign Ministry press department.
However, the minutes from the April meeting of the Consultancy Council for Foreign Broadcasts refute this, HN writes.
It is obvious from it that Drulak sharply criticised the radio station for not having broadcast the foreign political topics according to his own ideas, it adds.
Drulak specifically complained about the English section that has the biggest reach, HN writes.
($1 = 24.052 crowns)

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