CT Board: Hodac to use 'all legal means' to restore normal service

By: Rob Cameron.

The supervisory board of the country's public television network, Czech Television, has called on the station's newly-appointed Director General to use all legal means at his disposal to resume regular broadcasting, as the crisis over control of the station entered its tenth day. It was the first time the board had met since appointing Jiri Hodac, a move which has plunged Czech Television into crisis. News journalists say Mr Hodac will allow politicians to interfere with their editorial independence, and have occupied the news room in protest. They are supported by most of Czech Television's management and staff, and thousands of people have gathered outside the building to express their solidarity.

Meanwhile the political battle over Czech Television continued on Friday, with the right-of-centre Civic Democrats calling on unnamed political figures to stop interfering in the dispute. The statement refers to several politicians who have openly expressed their sympathy with the journalists occupying the building. The journalists themselves say Mr Hodac and the new Head of News, Jana Bobosikova, both have close ties to the Civic Democrats, charges which both they and the party deny. The Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus, who is the speaker of the lower house of parliament, will host cross-party talks on the crisis on January 2nd.