4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity
The Ministry of Culture (MC) is the body responsible for media in the Czech Republic. The ministry manages the asset of publishers of periodic publications and it prepares legislation in the field.
Television broadcasters have a number of obligations according to European regulations (Directives 2010/13/EU on Audio-visual Media Services).
The legislative framework for radio and television broadcasting allowed the creation of a dual system of broadcasting, i.e. coexistence of public and private sector with the consequence of exceptional dynamic development in the field of media. In 2001, the new Act on Radio and Television Broadcasting (Act No. 231/2001 Coll.) was adopted. This Act defines the rights and duties of operators of radio and television broadcasting, the license system and registration of operators of re-broadcasting. In 2010 an Act on Audio-visual Media Services was adopted in conformity with Directive 2010/13/EU. The Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting exercises oversight of adherence to legislation in the area of radio and television broadcasting, the licensing of radio and television broadcasting, the issuing of decisions on registration for rebroadcasting and also maintains a register of broadcasters, rebroadcasters and providers of audio-visual media services on demand. (http://www.rrtv.cz).
Czech Television, Czech Radio and operators of broadcasting are defined in the law with specific task of public service broadcasting. These operators are independent of the state, they do not get any state subventions and their activity is financed with the income from radio and television fees and income from their commercial activities (especially advertising and yields from copyright, rental of technical equipment etc.). Czech Television and Czech Radio provide services for the public by production and broadcasting of television or radio programmes or other multimedia contents and support services. The body that controls the activity of Czech Television is the Council for Television Broadcasting and the Council for Czech Radio controls Czech Radio. The members of the Council are elected by the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the CR. One of Council's tasks is also appointing the Director-General of Czech Television and Czech Radio.
The new Act on Radio and TV Fees came into force in 2005. Since 1 September 2005, the radio fee is 45 CZK and the TV fee has been increased to 135 CZK since 1 January 2008. Since 1 June 2010 radio and television receivers that are an integral part of a terminal mobile telecommunication device (i.e. a cell phone) are not subject to fee requirements.
The number of television programmes was limited until the change in digital technology (DVB-T technology). Two commercial televisions NOVA and PRIMA came onto the market with public Czech Television. Transformation of digital broadcasting in the CR is taking place according to the Concept of Digital Radio and TV Broadcasting Transition in the CR (July 2001). The transition to digital television broadcasting is proceeding in conformity with changes introduced to the relevant legislation (e.g. Act on Communications). Detailed rules are outlined in the Technical Transition Plan issued under Government Order No. 161/2008 Coll., which, among other things, sets the latest date for each of the territorial regions in the CR by which digital broadcasting is to be launched and analogue broadcasting terminated.
According to the Act on Radio and Television Broadcasting, Czech Television and Czech Radio are obliged to compile a programme structure to provide a well-balanced offer for all inhabitants with regard to their age, sex, colour, faith, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin and minority. The Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting supervises compliance with the Act. According to the Database of Aired Programmes on Czech Television, which monitors ratings and statistics on broadcasting, almost two-thirds of broadcasting time was represented by their own programmes on all channels of Czech Television (ÄŒT1, ÄŒT2, ÄŒT24 and ÄŒT4), in 2010 it was 74% of total broadcasting time and 65% of channels ÄŒT1 and ÄŒT2. The remainder of broadcasting time for all channels was made up of rebroadcast programmes of domestic origin (3%) and foreign origin (23%). In 2010, according to the database, programming by type of programme broadcast on Czech Television consisted of drama (13%), music programmes (2%), documentaries on art and the media (1%), and documentaries on the humanities (1%).
In the Long-Term Planning of Programme, Technical and Economic Development of Czech Television 2006-2010, there is a proposal to expand the space for authentic recordings of important cultural events including theatre performances and concerts; these funds should be effectively preserved and made available through digital technologies.
Czech Television also ranks among the important producers of Czech films. Given the fact that there is no public programme focused on art and culture in the CR, the space dedicated to culture is a widely discussed topic, especially among professionals. There is one channel devoted solely to music among the commercial television stations - TV ÓÄko http://ocko.idnes.cz, and internet television stations like "BEDNA.TV" http://www.bedna.tv focus on the younger generation and youth culture.
The only legislation that regulates the publishing periodical press in the Czech Republic is the Act on Rights and Responsibilities of Publishing Periodical Press and Amendment of Certain other Regulations (Press Law 2000). In conformity with this Act the MC maintains a Registers of Publishers of the Periodical Press. The National Library of the CR processes statistical data on the periodic press based on obligatory copies sent by the publishers; this data forms part of the statistics for culture for individual years http://www.nipos-mk.cz.
The MC uses its grant programmes to support cultural periodicals in the form of grants in all fields and disciplines. The Ministry is the only source of support for the majority of literary magazine publishers but the budget for these purposes is very limited. The Ministry also announces a selection procedure for the support of media and audio-visual production for children, the education of teachers in the field of media and projects promoting the Czech media field abroad.
In addition, it organises the "Programme of Support for Promoting and Receiving Information in Languages of Ethnic Minorities – Support for Periodical Press, Radio or Television Broadcasting". See also chapter 4.2.4.
In the spring of 2009 an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code came into effect designed primarily to protect victims of crimes against medialisation. According to this amendment, the media cannot publish the identity of victims of serious crimes or information from police. This law came to be generally labelled the "muzzling law". According to the professional community, this law goes well beyond what is necessary to protect victims and is considered to infringe significantly on the constitutional freedom of expression. At present there are several legislative proposals to amend the act and narrow the list of crimes to which heightened protections are attached.