1000’s rally in opposition to Czech president’s attack on media

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Prague, Czech Republic – 1000’s of Czechs contain taken to the streets of the capital, Prague, in defiance of a latest attack on native neutral media by the nation’s no longer too long ago re-elected President Milos Zeman.

Speaking all over his inauguration closing week at Prague Fort, the pro-Russian, anti-migrant Zeman criticised the Czech media by name, accusing them of favouritism all over basically the latest elections and total bias.

The feedback prompted loads of opposition contributors of parliament in attendance to leave the ceremony.

Zeman’s remarks came lower than two weeks after 27-year-outdated Slovakian investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kusnirova had been shot slow of their home delivery air the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, in an assassination suspected to be linked to his work.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia, previously unified as Czechoslovakia, prick up 25 years ago, nevertheless the two countries live end.

Loads of contributors of parliament also joined the protests  [Philip Heijmans/Al Jazeera]

Gathering in Prague’s Wenceslas Sq. on Wednesday evening – the positioning of broad protests in opposition to communism all around the 1989 Velvet Revolution – flag-waving Czechs criticised Zeman and Top Minister Andrej Babis, chanting « disgrace » and jingling their keys, a gesture former all over communism that symbolises the unlocking of doorways as they swept Communists from energy.

« I make no longer agree what our president is saying about the media, » said Klara Krivankova, a 23-year-outdated biology student.

« I reflect it can assemble a deadly ambiance in our republic, which will likely be hazardous for the media moreover. »

Particularly, Zeman attacked the neutral Czech Television, a public records supplier whose director is appointed by a council elected by parliament.

They condemned Zeman’s speech as unacceptable and an attack on its independence.

« Our president is attacking the media and is ceaselessly speaking about media take care of it is biased, nevertheless it is no longer merely, » said 30-year-outdated protester Vladimir Nedved.

« Right here is the first television in our nation, and it is an attack on the freedom of this nation. »

Protesters paid tribute to slain Slovakian investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kusnirova [Philip Heijmans/Al Jazeera]

Lighting fixtures candles and exhibiting photos, the demonstrators honoured the slain Slovak journalist in a moment of silence whereas holding up their lit cell phones.

Along with Czech Television, loads of media stores also denounced Zeman, who in October famously offended reporters by brandishing a duplicate Kalashnikov inscribed with the words « for journalists ».

« The journalists of our papers pause no longer see for any scoops, nevertheless for the truth. They’re going to proceed with what they pause in all sense of correct and unsuitable, » Roman Latuske, total director of the publisher Economia, suggested the Czech News Agency closing week.

Media preserve a watch on

Joining the protesters had been also loads of contributors of parliament who contain change into an increasing selection of fearful about the suppose of free media within the central European nation where loads of influential newspapers are now owned by the political and business elite, including Top Minister Babis.

« [Prime Minister Babis] owns pretty a broad phase of our media and right here is believed to be one of the a mountainous sequence of conflicts of curiosity that he currently has, » said Marketa Adamova, member of parliament and deputy chairman of the centre-pleasurable TOP 09 birthday party.

She also said that she became once timid that the direct would perhaps presumably rep worse with a parliamentary vote constructing to attach the board of Czech Television. At display cover, Babis’ ANO birthday party has minority preserve a watch on of the Czech parliament.

« It’s a lot like Poland or Hungary where the government pretty with out difficulty can preserve a watch on their television, and it is no longer neutral to any extent further, » she said.

Zeman became once re-inaugurated earlier in March [David W Cerny/Reuters]

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