The Ministry of Culture (MC) is the body responsible for media in the Czech Republic. The Ministry manages the assets of publishers of periodic publications and it prepares legislation in the field.
Television broadcasters have a number of obligations according to European regulations (Directive 2010/13/EU on Audio-visual Media Services).
The legislative framework for radio and television broadcasting has allowed the creation of a dual system of broadcasting, i.e. the coexistence of a public and a 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 the registration of rebroadcasting operators. In 2010 the Act on Audio-visual Media Services was adopted in line with Directive 2010/13/EU. The Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting oversees adherence to legislation in the area of radio and television broadcasting, the licensing of radio and television broadcasters, and the issuing of decisions on the registration of rebroadcasters, and it also maintains a register of broadcasters, rebroadcasters, and providers of audio-visual media services on demand.
Czech Television, Czech Radio and someother broadcasters are defined in the law by the specific task of public service broadcasting that they perform. These operators are independent of the state, they do not receive any state subventions, and their activity is financed with the income from radio and television fees and the 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 producing and broadcasting television or radio programmes or other multimedia content and support services. The work of Czech Television is overseen by the Council for Television Broadcasting and Czech Radio’s work is overseen by the Council for Czech Radio. The members of the Council are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the CR. One of Council’s tasks is to appoint 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 has been 45 CZK, and the TV fee has been 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 fees.
The number of television programmes was limited until the change in digital technology (DVB-T technology). Two commercial television stations, NOVA and PRIMA, came onto the market alongside the public Czech Television. The transformation of digital broadcasting in the CR has proceeded in line with the Concept of Digital Radio and TV Broadcasting Transition in the CR (July 2001). The transition to digital television broadcasting was proceeding in line with changes introduced to the relevant legislation (e.g. Act on Communications).
According to the Act on Radio and Television Broadcasting, Czech Television and Czech Radio are required to compile a programme structure that provides a well-balanced selection of programmes for all inhabitants with regard to age, sex, skin colour, faith, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin, and minority status. The Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting oversees compliance with the Act.
In August 2013 Czech Television began broadcasting two new channels: the cultural channel ČT Art and the children’s channel ČT: D, which both air on the same broadcasting channel but in different time slots. The arts channel airs from 8pm to 6am. With the creation of a special channel, culture is for the first time being given consistent and regular space during prime broadcasting hours and in a public medium. ČT also supports the creation of new cultural programming.
There are some channels devoted solely to music among the commercial television stations – TV Óčko, Retro Music TV,and FajnRockMusicTV and Radio. There is also online television stations targeting the young generation and culture. One of them is Mall.tv, which also provides access to broadcasts of Czech cultural performances, events, and exhibitions during the COVID-19 crisis.
The only legislation that regulates the publishing periodical press in the Czech Republic is the Act on the Rights and Responsibilities of Publishing the Periodical Press and Amendment of Certain other Regulations (Press Act 2000). In line with this Act the MC maintains a Register of Publishers of the Periodical Press. The National Library of the CR processes statistical data on the periodic press based on obligatory copies sent to it by publishers; these data are part of the statistics for culture for individual years.
The MC uses its grant programmes to support cultural periodicals in the form of grants in all fields and disciplines. The MC is the only source of support for the majority of literary magazine publishers, but the budget is very limited. The MC also announces a grant/funding competition for supporting media and audio-visual production among children, for the education of teachers in the field of media, and for 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 2.5).