Mailbox

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Today in Mailbox: Reception in South Asia, the dissolution of the Communist Youth Association, Bohemian folk costumes, e-mails that bounce back, and more. Listeners quoted: Subir Basu, Jorn Rudolph, Ray Mulac, Bob Boundy, Frank Miata, K.Thiagarajan.

Hello there. Mailbox is back with quotes from your e-mails and, as usual, with our regular listeners' competition. Let's start off with this e-mail from Subir Basu from India in which he complains about bad reception of our programmes in his area and continues...

"I found in your English broadcast there is no active request for listeners to send in their reception reports. This makes me think that the Radio Prague authorities are not so much concerned about reception of their broadcasts. I think not much mail comes from South Asia to you. So I would request you, if possible, to tune into Radio Canada International's and Deutsche Welle's English mailbag programme. The mail that is read out is mostly from South Asia, the reason being good reception of the English broadcasts there. One day it might so happen that an analysis is made and it is found that there is not much response to the English broadcast from South Asia. So shelve the broadcast to South Asia. But the reason may be something else."

I am very sorry if the reception of Radio Prague's broadcasts is not up to scratch in your area but I have forwarded your e-mail to our shortwave experts who will look into the matter. As far as reception reports are concerned, we do not mention them every day in our programmes as by far not all our listeners are shortwave enthusiasts. Actually, the number of reception reports we get every month from South Asia has remained the same for a few years.

As far as quoting is concerned, most of the mail we get from your region is either reception reports or requests for Radio Prague's broadcast schedules and promotion materials, so there is not much to quote from, as these e-mails hardly ever contain any comments on the content and quality of our broadcast. Most of the mail which contains interesting points and questions comes from the United States and Canada, and that is reflected in our Mailbox programmes. Listeners from your part of the world also take part in our competitions - but again not in such numbers as those in America - and they are very often among the winners. That is all I can say for my part. As far as the technical details and reception are concerned, we'll get back to that once our experts have found out what the problem is.

Jorn Rudolph from Denmark has sent us this mail:

"I am trying to find out why KSM [the Communist Youth Association] was banned and I can only find few things about it. Could Radio Prague give me more information about all this? I am not a communist myself, but I want to find out what goes on in Europe today. And I believe in the freedom of speech - also if it is against the official government policy. I have heard that two weeks ago there was a commission set up to find out if it is possible to ban KCSM [the Communist Party] if they can prove that the party is against the constitution. Is that correct?"

On the day the Interior Ministry decided to dissolve the Communist Youth Association, on October 18, the story featured in Radio Prague's news bulletin. The ministry explained its move by saying the organisation's programme statement says the movement strives to remove the private ownership of means of production and replace it with communal ownership. The ministry says this is in breach of the Czech Constitution and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

Radio Prague's reporter Rob Cameron also spoke to Dr Josef Skala of the Communist Party and asked him to present his party's side of the story. You can find the interview at: http://www.radio.cz/en/article/84359

As for the commission you mention, an eleven-member commission was established within the Czech Senate which is to assess whether the Communist Party's existence is actually in line with the Czech Constitution. The upper chamber of the Czech Parliament is also preparing a bill on banning the promotion of the communist ideology.

Ray Mulac from Chicago sent us this request:

"Ahoj! I really enjoy your web broadcast and have recently signed up for email news. This past May my brother and I visited the Czech Republic and met with some cousins in the Plzen region. Unfortunately we were unable to find a shop which offers the traditional kroj [costumes]. Our family ancestors came from the towns of Klatovy and Dnesice. Might you know of a shop where one can be obtained? Or can you direct me to a museum or publisher who has an illustration of these villages dress?"

I am afraid we don't know about such a shop that sells ready made costumes but this year we broadcast (www.radio.cz/en/article/77056) a report about a sewing shop in Moravia, opened with the help of EU money, where experienced seamstresses can make folk costumes based on pictures and ethnography books. So if you contact them, you might be lucky.

Bob Boundy from New Zealand also complains about bad reception in his area:

"Reception here has been awful and with the time change it's too early for listening as we are still in bed here at that time. So am glad I have a computer so can listen there, but it's not the same as a shortwave broadcasts. The computer makes one very lazy. I was very bemused about your ticket inspector conflict. It seems strange, as I have been to the Czech Republic four times in the past - also when I was with our Czech friends - and we were never stopped in the metro or on a tram at any time. We must have looked okay."

Frank Miata follows Radio Prague as well as the current political developments in the Czech Republic.

"Could it be that President Klaus and the American actor Bill Murray are collaborating on the post election strategy? Mr. Murray had a film 'Groundhog Day' that seems to capture the atmosphere in the country at the moment. Yes, it was a meaningless American movie. But, what is this second go around with the Civic Democrats? It would not be wise to raise the tax on beer as long as this political dance goes on. Just reading about it makes one want to have another."

And finally, our regular listener K. Thiagarajan from India:

"I have been your regular listener for the past two decades, and now I communicate with you via e-mail. It is fast and easy to reach you. I have been receiving your QSL cards by post for my reception reports sent via e-mail. Well, when I tried to send my entry for the November monthly quiz from my e-mail id, the mails were bounced back. I don't know whether this is accidental, or intentional! I request you, if my mail ID has been blocked, kindly remove the block at once, so that I can have smooth communication with you!"

Let me reassure you and all our other listeners: we never block any of our listeners' e-mail addresses. Of course, the mailing system here at Czech Radio has anti-spam filters. If a mail arrives from an internet server which the system recognises as one that spam messages come from, it can automatically block all the incoming mails. Also, if your messages are written all in block letters they can be screened out by the system. As a matter of fact, our replies to you also bounce back from time to time.


Now we only have time to repeat our competition question:

We would like to know the name of the German industrialist, born in what is now the Czech Republic, who was honoured at the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel in 1963 as one of the Righteous among the Nations for his actions during WWII.

Your answers should reach us by the end of the month at English@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic.