Czech Media: Democratic or Anti-Communist?

By Wachtel, Beverly | Nieman Reports, Summer 1996 | Go to article overview

Czech Media: Democratic or Anti-Communist?


Wachtel, Beverly, Nieman Reports


Civil society the sphere considered separately from the economy and the state, is endangered in the Czech Republic by media transformation grounded in an uncritical critique" of the past as well as in a lingering adherence to elitist models of administration. The new policies of free-market anti-communism--often. paradoxically, both in the name of and at the expense of democracy--seem to be the result of thinking along the lines in Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm's words, that "since the North Pole is freezing cold, the opposite pole will be beautifully warm. " Stampeding toward capitalism, Czech media industries are undergoing a process of commercialization and internationalization that tends to encourage the blending of the civil and economic realms, thereby threatening participatory democracy and non-consumerist culture.

As the demands of the marketplace eclipse civil concerns and the state turns its interest from the people to the private sector and, increasingly, to its own well-being, such capitalist by-products as the death of nation-wide public radio, the restriction of political content in the media and the crippling of the national film industry begin to surface. In embracing the laissez-faire economic ideals that were formerly anathema, the state turns its back on the deleterious cultural effects of the changes that it has initiated and allowed.

As American political theorist Andrew Arato warns, "those in Eastern Europe who forget the destructive effects of the self-regulating market on the cultural fabric of society because of their hatred for state interventionism seek to rejoin Europe not as it is today...but as it once was, thereby inviting the repetition of already known disasters."

The restructuring of the Czech radio broadcasting system illuminates the hazardous ramifications of the blithe swing from anticapitalism to anti-communism. While the opening of the Czech radio frontier to international media giants has precipitated a torrential increase in listening options, it has also provoked a conflict among corporate, state and civil interests centering on the selling of the public radio frequency by the Czechoslovak Council on Radio and Television Broadcasting (CRTVB). This council was established by Parliament in the spring of 1991 after the breakdown of central media control in order to issue licenses, allocate frequencies, and set standards.

Lacking both experience with the private sector and a firm set of priorities, this regulating body showed its inadequacies during the debate lastyear that raged around the council's decision to allocate the medium-wave frequency of the public station Radiozurnal to the commercial broadcaster, Radio Echo, which has since gone bankrupt. The consequent reassignment of Radiozurnal to a frequency of smaller transmitting range means that significant portions of the Czech Republic are no longer able to receive it. Despite strenuous criticism from Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, President Vaclav Havel and the trade union of communication media, the council's decision still stands.

Havel supports protest in the popular press, disapproving of the "dangerous and exaggerated passion for privatization" in relation to the frequency change, citing that proper regulations concerning nonprofit spheres such as public broadcasting are not yet in place. He further contends that "if we have only private radio broadcasting pop music and advertisements all the time...it could happen one day that important political information does not reach the public at all." Klaus characterizes the council's decision as "absurd and terrifying," asserting in an interview that "the government does not have the slightest chance to intervene" nor is it informed of the council's meetings.

This crisis in the dissemination of information to the public as well as in the effective hierarchy of an emerging democracy reflects the dangers inherent in a media-regulating structure that has not yet developed a system of checks and balances. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Czech Media: Democratic or Anti-Communist?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.