Directors of Czech Public Service Media and the European Broadcasting Union Discussed Funding with President Pavel

18. červen 2024

The directors general of Czech Television, Jan Souček, and Czech Radio, René Zavoral, together with the head of the European Broadcasting Union, Noel Curran, met at Prague Castle to discuss the amendment to the law on public service media prepared by the Ministry of Culture.

The three directors general met with President Pavel, however they only touched on the legislative process in a marginal way because the president's constitutional role comes into play only at the very end of the process, said René Zavoral after the meeting.

"The funding of public service media in the Czech Republic is far below the European average," remarked Noel Curran, director of the European Broadcasting Union, after the meeting with President Petr Pavel. At Prague Castle, he discussed, among other things, the increase of the separate television and radio licensing fees with the directors of Czech Radio and Czech Television.

"The President recognizes the important role of strong public service media in a democratic society in the context of the dual system," said René Zavoral, Director General of Czech Radio. A dual system is one in which public service and commercial media operate side by side.

The television fee is to increase by CZK 15, which would newly make it CZK 150 per month, while the radio fee would increase by CZK 10, making the new total CZK 55 per month. Curran said the current proposal is the minimum for the survival of public service media in the Czech Republic.

On Thursday, the government's Legislative Council will discuss the amendments to the Czech Radio and Czech Television Acts. The draft will then be discussed by the cabinet.

René Zavoral, director of Czech Radio, also said that when the bills are voted on in the Chamber of Deputies, a memorandum on the fulfilment of public services should already be ready. These would always be valid for five years and signed by the directors general with the culture ministry.

Last week, Mr. Zavoral mentioned that Czech Radio will lose about CZK 90 million a year due to the new definition of corporate license fee payers in the media amendment. On the other hand, the increase in the number of household license fee payers will mean an additional of up to CZK 180 million. Together with the fee increase, the net increase in revenue will be CZK 331 million per year.

Last week, Jan Souček warned that if the Parliament does not approve an increase in the license fee to CZK 150, Czech Television will lay off around 350 people next year. This year, regardless of the progress of the media amendments, about 90 out of roughly 3,000 employees will leave the company.

Spustit audio