Chief Executive of Czech Public Service Radio has been dismissed

23. 7. 2009

The regulatory Council for Czech Public Service Radio has dismissed Václav Kasík, the Chief Executive of Czech Radio. The reasons given for Kasík's dismissal are not very convincing. The Council for Czech Radio is seen by many as incompetent and politically biased. Critics point out that the Council for Czech Radio has been, over the years, systematically trying to limit the activities of Czech public service Radio, in line with the interests of private broadcasters, constraining anyone who would wish to develop a versatile, flexible and modern public service radio broadcasting in the Czech Republic.

The official reasons, given for Kasík's dismissal are these:

  • Kasík apparently "made a serious mistake" when he appointed Barbora Tachecí as Head of the main Czech Radio station "Radiožurnál" at the beginning of 2008. However, at the time, the Council for Czech Radio enthusiastically supported Tachecí's appointment. Tachecí was later recalled for personal health problems.
  • It was Kasík's fault that no editor apparently supervised broadcasting in the evenings. Thus one of the Czech Radio (Radio Wave) presenters "insulted" Czech president Václav Klaus on air.
  • Kasík, allegedly in contradiction to law, broadcast Czech Radio's programmes in analogue and not digitally.
  • It turned out some time ago that the head of Kasík's office, Libor Křivka, used to be a collaborator of the communist secret service. Kasík had apparently made a mistake of not requiring an official certificate of "political cleanliness" from Křivka before appointing him.
  • The council was unhappy that the reconstruction of the original building of Radio Prague was too long and costly.

Václav Kasík was involved in a long dispute with the Council for Czech Radio in connection with the creation of a new station for young people "Radio Wave". The Council for Czech Radio, several of whose members work for private radio stations, saw the creation of a new public service station for young people as direct competition and forced Kasík to take it off analogue broadcasting (which is much more accessible to the Czech public than digital broadcasting). The Council for Czech Radio has also systematically tried to prevent any new initiatives from taking place within Radio Prague and attempted to close down an award winning Czech Radio internet project "Gorillas online", a highly successful "reality show" about the life of a gorilla family in the Prague zoo.

There several activist groupings of Radio Prague listeners "Gorillas online in jeopardy", "We do not want to re-tune" and "ProWave", who are sharply critical of the work of the Council for Czech Radio.

They point out that:

  • The Council of Czech Radio has wrongly accused Radio Wave of disseminating fascism by broadcasting an English-language anti-fascist song which the Council was incapable of understanding properly.
  • Law stipulatates that the Council meetings must be public; yet the Council often meets in private.
  • The Council's assessors of the output of the individual Czech Radio stations are anonymous.
  • The Council took Radio Wave off analogue broadcasting.
  • The Council has initiated legal proceedings against listeners who complained about its work.
  • Three members of the Council, Antonín Zelenka, Dana Jaklová and Ladislav Jíša, are employed by private broadcasting companies. This is a conflict of interest.

Further details in Czech HERE

An official explanation by the Council for Czech Radio why Václav Kasík has been dismissed (in Czech) HERE


Obsah vydání | Čtvrtek 23.7. 2009