On the night of Saturday, 6 December, the Parliament of the Czech Republic said that Jiří Hodač had been legally elected chief executive of Czech TV. At the same time, Czech Parliament called on the Council for Czech TV to recall Jiří Hodač from the post of Czech TV's chief executive at its meeting on 8 January.
I reject this demand. I regard it as impermissible political pressure.
In my role as a member of the Council for Czech Television, I have never interfered with personnel decisions made by Czech TV Chief Executive Dušan Chmelíček, and I have fully respected his powers which belonged only to him.
I therefore call on the Czech Parliament not to interfere in the powers that belong only to the Council for Czech TV.
I will not vote for recalling Jiří Hodač, and I will not yield to the pressure of the street, even if there were five times more people.
I deeply detest witch-hunts directed at anyone, even though he or she might be the lowliest of persons. I detest even more so a witch-hunt directed at a person of such moral qualities as Mr Hodač. I do not forget that similar crowd psychosis brought Milada Horáková to the gallows [Milada Horáková was a Czech non-Communist politician in the Stalinist 1950s, ed].
I realise that this witch-hunt has driven Mr Hodač to a hospital bed. I am not afraid of "being burned alive," as anonymous telephone calls now threaten me.
Human dignity and respect for the law is of more value to me than hypocritical praise by people who are willing to sign a different petition every year and who are capable of forcing through changes in the law by inciting dangerous social moods and by approving of illegal action.
Still a member of the Council for Czech Television
6 January 2001
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All photos courtesy of Štěpán Kotrba, commentator and political analyst for the Czech Internet daily Britské listy
Also on the Czech TV crisis in this issue of CER:
- Jan Čulík's article reviewing the current Czech Television crisis
- Andrew Stroehlein's overview and analysis of the crisis
- The role of the Internet in the crisis
- James Partridge's look at the protest and other issues surrounding events
- The crisis escalates: Prime Minister Zeman calls on President Havel to leave politics