20th April 2016

2015 Freedom of Press Report: Czech Republic 21st: some degree of self-censorship of media workers, oligarchization, lower quality&depth of news reporting

The Czech Republic ranks 21st in the 2015 Freedom of the Press Report by the Freedomhouse organisation, compared with 9th place in the 2014 report. Harsh laws and violence drive global decline, the organization says, adding that global press freedom declined in 2014 to its lowest point in more than ten years. 

The report says that some degree of self-censorship is present among Czech media workers, particularly at outlets whose owners have significant links with business or politics.

Television remains the main source of information, but the internet continues to develop rapidly as a news source, with 80 percent of the population enjoying regular and unrestricted access in 2014.

Many private outlets do not disclose their ownership structures. The industry had been characterized by a very high share of foreign ownership, but this has changed in recent years with the entry into the market of Czech business tycoons. 
increasing concentration of ownership and influence, and critics have warned of “oligarchization” and “Berlusconization”—that is, powerful individuals’ use of media assets to influence politics.

Observers have pointed to a recent decline in the depth and quality of reporting in Czech news media, due in large part to economic difficulties within the media sector. The trend has been accompanied by an increase in live news coverage, tabloid-style content, and so-called Google journalism that is not based on primary sources. There is, however, a strong tradition of investigative reporting at many Czech newspapers, and a few continue to fund substantial investigative projects.

Read more details here (in English).

A summary in Czech by the Czech News Agency is available here.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic