V4 Report: Czech Republic 🇨🇿: President Miloš Zeman criticizes liberal media at the ceremony at which he was sworn in for a second term as President.
** Some of the usual suspects in Prague are calling this a “scandal”. Oh My…..a scandal? When did criticism of the media become an attack on “free speech”?
While Zeman may have been wise to choose a different time and place, he has every right to challenge the media, which is not exactly “infallible”.
We find this whole debate to be nauseating, petty and small……which is typical of most Czech politicians and members of the media. We believe both of these institutions have failed to attract the most talented and dynamic in Czech society and are in need of major renewal.
*** Some in the Czech media appear to be shamelessly trying to link the tragic murder of a Slovak journalist to all who question the integrity of some in the media. This is a dangerous game. It is a nonsense and pure rubbish to equate criticism of the media as an attack on free speech. Quite frankly, open and intense debate is a requirement for freedom of speech.
Many, including the V4 Report, believe that some in the media often manipulate the news, particularly in regards to the EU migrant crisis. The media will certainly voice their opinions, but they are not above criticism and must not be allowed to intimidate or silence others who disagree with their views. Some even desire handing the government the tools to determine “proper speech”. This is a slippery slope and real attack on free speech.
**** In his speech at Prague Castle, Zeman accused the liberal media, specifically the newspaper Hospodářské noviny, the magazine Respekt and the public television broadcaster, of manipulating public opinion. Reactions from the Czech press varied widely.
Of course, the anti-V4, pro-migration EU “cheerleaders” at newspaper Hospodářské noviny will continue to whine about anyone who disagrees with their agenda, which is to distance the nation from its natural allies at the Visegrad Core in order to embrace the multicult “EU solidarity” pushed by Berlin and Paris.
However, some in the Czech media are well-known to belittle and ridicule the overwhelmingly large majority of Czechs (including some who may have not voted for Zeman) who reject the migrant quotas and calls to surrender its culture and soul to the EU Core. This arrogance of the media has itself divided society.
– For its part Mladá fronta dnes has no problems with the president’s words. It merely criticises the timing:
“No one can forbid the president from voicing criticism. And in a free country it’s totally normal when such criticism is aimed at the media. This is not an attack on freedom of opinion but an expression of that freedom. … Everything Zeman said was completely legitimate. He can voice his opinions to his closest advisors, on the squares of Czech cities, in parliament, and even as he is sworn in for a second term in Prague Castle’s Vladislav Hall. However, in the latter scenario it looks incredibly stupid.”
– PM Andrej Babis said Zeman’s statements were unfortunate but he did not consider them an attack on the freedom of speech: “We need society to get united. I expected a different speech. I expected him not to be confrontational.”
Why did Babis expect anything different? Zeman was being Zeman and societies are divided across Europe. A “feel-good” speech is not about to change this; after all, Angela Merkel delivers many speeches on “solidarity” but has managed to divide Europe more than anyone.
– Civic Democrat (ODS) leader Petr Fiala said he was disappointed at Zeman not being able to refrain from attacking his opponents, media and the freedom of speech. Again, we have great reservations about politicians who seek to limit speech or debate regarding the statements of opponents or the media. This strikes us as immature and weak.
– TOP 09 chairman Jiri Pospisil said it was sad Zeman attacked institutions related to the democratic state. We do not understand this statement. This is not North Korea. A sign of freedom and democracy is the ability to challenge “institutions” without the fear of repercussions, unless one breaks the law. Likewise, Father Tomas Halik, a bitter enemy of Zeman, is free to challenge, judge and ridicule the President of a “democratic state”.
– Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Jan Hamacek said on Twitter: “I was honoured to attend today’s inauguration of President Miloš Zeman at the Prague Castle. I wish Mr. President a lot of health and energy to his second term.” Perhaps, Hamacek displayed the smartest strategy of all by remaining neutral and saving his energy for the bigger battles ahead.
After all, there is a government yet to be formed in the Czech Republic.