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Scandal as TV Prima fails to broadcast talk show episode with Czech Culture Minister and Holocaust survivor

27.10.2016 12:03
Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman on 1 August 2014 during the Government's commemorative ceremony at Lety by Písek, where Romani people were imprisoned during WWII prior to being sent to Auschwitz.  Today an industrial pig farm occupies the site of the former concentration camp.
Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman on 1 August 2014 during the Government's commemorative ceremony at Lety by Písek, where Romani people were imprisoned during WWII prior to being sent to Auschwitz. Today an industrial pig farm occupies the site of the former concentration camp.

Yesterday evening the privately-owned Prima television station did not broadcast its most recent episode of a popular talk show with host Jan Kraus during which his guests included Holocaust survivor Jiří Brady and Mr Brady's nephew, Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman. According to the Seznam online news server, the station told viewers it was not broadcasting the episode because producers did not deliver it to the station in time.

The dramaturg of the program rejects the allegations of lack of professionalism. The Czech Culture Minister and Brady understood that Brady was meant to have been given a state honor by Czech President Miloš Zeman but was then removed from consideration after Herman met with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama over Zeman's objections.

The Office of the President rejects any connection between Herman meeting the Dalai Lama and Brady's name not being included on the list of state honors to be awarded tomorrow. The Prima station broadcast a reprise of a previous episode of the talk show yesterday evening instead of the episode advertised with Brady, Herman, the singer Anna K and the actor Roman Štabrňák as guests.

The station introduced its broadcast of the rerun episode with a brief text informing viewers that Prima was broadcasting archived material because the producers of the new episode had not delivered it in time. TV Prima director Marek Singer subsquently confirmed that allegation to news server iDNES.cz.

"They told me there were difficulties with the delivery of the material," Singer told the news server. Simona Matásková, producer of the program, disagrees.

"We delivered the program to Prima the same way we always have in the past," she told news server Seznam Zprávy yesterday evening. For his part, the Czech Culture Minister responded to the news this morning by tweeting:  "Does the failure to broadcast the Jan Kraus episode on TV Prima mean the beginning of 'stabilizing society' according to the Chinese model? That would be unacceptable!"

The editors at Seznam also report that they have seen a message that the creators of the program sent to selected figures prior to making the program broadcast-ready in which they inform them that the beginning of the show includes a "happening" in support of Brady and Herman and against the decision by the Office of the President not to give him a state honor. Singer Anna K., who was also a guest during the episode, posted a message to her Facebook profile confirming that such a "happening" had been recorded.

"Together with other figures and my band, we all expressed our opinion at the opening of the episode about the state holiday this Friday and the awarding of state honors on that occasion, and we expressed support for Mr Jiří Brady and for Daniel Herman, who were guests on the program with me," the singer posted. The dispute about the state honor for Brady has marred preparations for this year's official celebration of the state holiday on 28 October.

The festivities marking Czechoslovak independence day are the most tense they have ever been in recent years. Many politicians have announced that because of this dispute they will not be attending the celebratory awarding of state honors at Prague Castle tomorrow. 

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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censorship, Média, Politika, television, Zeman



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