Now Prague: Thousands protest after President’s attack on media

Thousands of people gathered in Prague’s main square again on Wednesday calling for the resignation of Czech President Miloš Zeman following his attack on the media during the Presidential inauguration ceremony.

Zeman dedicated part of his inaugural address to berating critical media. He suggested that journalists working for certain media outlets were not worthy of the public’s respect and he questioned the objectivity of the public broadcaster Czech Television, according to media reports.

Czech Television is a public news provider that is independent of the State budget. Its director is appointed by a council elected by Parliament. It is not the only target of Zeman’s attacks. He has repeatedly slammed media outlets critical of him and he even joked about the need to kill journalists.

Zeman was sworn in for his second five-year term last week after winning a January election.

The election of Communist Party MP Zdeněk Ondráček as chairman of the lower house committee overseeing the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces last week has also fuelled public anger, according to Czech Radio.

Ondráček was a member of the Communist-era riot police that clamped down on demonstrators in 1989. Many of those gathered in Wenceslas Square, one of the main squares in Prague, jangled keys (a symbol of 1989) in protest.

Additional reporting by Cedric Farrugia in Prague.


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