31. října 2016 | News

Karel Randák: Je to korupce?

Monday Comment

It is not the objective of the organization called Anticorruption Endowment to take a stance on political/management decisions taken by other subjects. Sometimes, however, such decisions are manifestly or with a great degree of probability associated with undesirable effects, such as corruption, clientelism, nepotism and such like. It is not safe to say they were few and far between, in the past. However, what’s going on in this country now, dims even the bleakest imaginations and defies the borders of common sense.

Thus, Minister of Culture Daniel Herman “dared” to meet with the Dalai Lama. In their reaction to this encounter, the four highest representatives of this state not only did not hesitate to act like fools, but their statement belittles the Czech Republic’s image throughout the democratic part of the world. Their reasoning that other quarters act likewise might perhaps be only heeded by the likes of Mr. Ovčáček. The farce culminated in the refusal to confer a high state award upon Herman’s uncle, George Brady, as a token of wrath on the part of the President of the Republic. Here we have a situation that could seemingly be resolved with flying colours. But it is characteristic of the conduct of the Prague Castle circle around Mr. Zeman that this will not dissuade his staunch supporters. So be it.

However, when Prime Minister Sobotka and Lower House Speaker Hamáček, in their brighter and more lucid moments, attempt to atone for their anal alpinism by bestowing a memorial medal to George Brady, one has to gulp hard to stomach the incident. Even though Mr. Brady undisputedly deserves this honour, and many others to boot. But what we saw was an unpalatable soup of arrogance of the mighty, and a hefty dose of sycophancy and lust for promotion. Alas, not new in the Czech Republic. A mere shift to another dimension, is all.

What really takes us back to totalitarian days, was TV Prima’s attempt to “doctor” the show of my NFPK colleague, Jan Kraus. TV Prima made a childish attempt to explain it was aware of possible sanctions meted out by the Radio and Television Broadcasting Council (RRTV) and maintained the recording was delivered too late. The RRTV dispelled the former argument by saying that an entertainment programme, which the Jan Kraus Show is by all standards, is not legally prone to meet impartiality standards. Concerning the other excuse, anybody who has ever witnessed producer Simona Matásková’s precision, must know it’s a wishful thinking. In sum, one concludes: it was an unprecedented attempt to impose censorship. It would be good to know who operated behind the scenes. Our deliberations could easily hark back to a relatively distant past, namely the collapse of Investiční a poštovní banka (IPB). If my memory serves me right, Miloš Zeman was the prime minister who stage-managed the IPB’s fall. And a certain Ivan Zach was one of those who largely profited from the episode. And if he is the Zach, who owns 50 percent of TV Prima, it will not be illegal for the NFPK to evince interest in the matter. Wasn’t clientelism—or God permit—outright corruption? Anyway, a close watch on the impartiality and balance of TV Prima’s reporting on this case wouldn’t be out of place.

Karel Randák - Member of the Board of Trustees