Operation Lead: a threat to freedom of the press?

Милош Земан

Premier Zeman's accusation that journalists are behind the so-called Operation Olovo, or lead in English, has journalists speaking up against the threat to freedom of the press in the Czech Republic. As regular listeners to Radio Prague know, Operation Olovo is an attempt at discrediting Petra Buzkova, deputy chairperson of Parliament and a prominent figure in the ruling Social Democratic Party. The document was first published in the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes, which said it had received it from sources within the premier's office. Now, months later, Premier Zeman has said the document had been planted by the daily itself to discredit the Social Democrats. Olga Szantova looks at the latest developments around Operation Lead.

Prime Minister Milos Zeman was never known as an admirer of Czech journalists, neither is his main political opponent Vaclav Klaus, the speaker of the lower house of Parliament. Both of them have come out with numerous allegations, blaming journalists for misinterpreting politicians' statements, for overstepping their rights, for numerous actions taken for granted in those parts of the world, where freedom of the press has a longer tradition than in the post-communist world. But this time, Premier Zeman's allegation is worse than anything he said before, concludes the chairperson of the Czech Syndicate of Journalists, Irena Valova, and deputy editor-in-chief of the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes, Michal Ruzicka, told Radio Prague his paper wasn't worried by any threats that it would be sued.

Author: Olga Szantová
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