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Czech Television considers ending controversial "debate" program

24.2.2016 18:07
The
The "Máte slovo" ("You Have the Floor") program on the Czech public broadcaster features an incompetent, unprofessional moderator who knows nothing about the topics she keeps covering. (Photo: Print Screen 19 September 2013)

The "You Have the Floor" ("Máte slovo") program, in comparison to Czech Television's other current events programs, is the very worst in terms of quality. Czech daily Lidové noviny's online edition, Lidovky.cz, reports that is the conclusion of a rapid analysis requested by a new member of the public broadcaster's board, Zdeněk Šarapatka, who is a big critic of the program moderated by Michaela Jílková.

The analysis also praised the quality of the programs "Czech Television Reporters" and "168 Hours". A Czech Television analysis of the ratings for "You Have the Floor" reveals that its average daily audience was 412 000 viewers aged 15 and over, or 13.24 % of the general audience, which is a below-average rating for Czech Television's Channel 1.

The program is said to have reached 4.1 million adult viewers last year. Its most-watched episode involved a discussion of pension valorization (8 October 2015) with a total audience of 569 000 viewers aged 15 and over.

Each of its episodes broadcast online (released seven days after first being aired) were said to reach 5 000 individual viewers. That is an average result for online broadcasting.

The program received a "7.3" rating with regard to audience satisfaction, with a 57 % rating for originality and 63 % rating for favorability. Viewers over 60 are significantly overrepresented among its audience, with slightly more men than women following the show.

The results of the rapid analysis, which assesses the program's past episodes, were delivered to members of Czech Television's board this week. Its conclusion is clearly worded:  "In comparison with the other current events programs broadcast by Czech Television, the 'You Have the Floor' program performed worst during 2015, both in terms of ratings and share, as well as the qualitative parameters of satisfaction, originality and favorability," reads the report, which Lidovky.cz has seen.

The next meeting of Czech Television's board will review the matter in detail. "The main discussion is about to happen. This is primarily about a quantitative analysis, there is actually enough data there. My first impression, however, is that the 'You Have the Floor' program will not come out of this at all well," the chair of the 15-member monitoring body told Lidovky.cz.

Throughout its history the program has been repeatedly criticized for not being balanced in terms of the opinions it showcases and for being based on a tense exchange of opinions. Šarapatka has just reopened a topic that the Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting brought forward last November on the basis of previous complaints about the show.

The website Demagog.cz, which fact-checks the truthfulness of political statements, even called the program's 4 February episode a "boiler of falsities, fouls, and overlapping shouting" and compared it to a pub brawl. Jana Machalická, the editor of Lidové noviny's culture section, responded to Šarapatka's stance on the program as follows:  "'You Have the Floor' precisely fits the current dramaturgy of Czech Television Channel 1, which very awkwardly copies commercial stations and does not shy away from tabloid methods in some areas."

Machalická agrees with Šarapatka's statement that the program "undoubtedly inclines toward the tabloidization of serious topics", but in her view Czech Television needs to take systemic measures, as the cancellation of one tabloid program will not solve the problem. "Jílková's program is not breaking any laws, it's puffed-up folk entertainment, for God's sake, and probably no one ever expects it to seriously address the discussion topics it presents. It made it onto Channel 1 precisely because it copies TV Nova's 'Kotel' (Boiler) - from the beginning it used that same model and same phraseology," she notes.

In 2011, journalist František Kostlán published an article on Romea.cz entitled " 'You Have the Floor', or, a shrieking concierge wearing a bun addresses the Šluknov Region's problems", in which he stated the following:  "The 'You Have the Floor' program is the shame of all of public television. While Jílková does 'moderate' it, she does not know anything about the matters or the essence of the problems being discussed. However, what she does know how to do is to reproach those participating from her position as their 'superior' if they say something that does not conform to her own (mostly erroneous) notions. She brilliantly knows how to sow discord between individuals or in a group, and thanks to that, what is created in the studio is a pseudo-debate in which the participants shout over each other instead of discussing the matter at hand."  

jal, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Česká televize, Máte slovo, Michaela Jílková, Novinářská etika



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