Press Review

The latest developments at the Czech public TV network make the headlines in all Czech newspapers today. MLADA FRONTA DNES writes that the station's future now lies in the hands of politicians. The new director, Jiri Hodac, might be removed from his post within several days, as his chances of surviving are substantially lower since he interrupted Czech TV broadcasts altogether on Wednesday night.

The key role is likely to be played by high ranking Civic Democratic Party officials, in the wake of the ruling Social democrats' call on the Czech TV director Jiri Hodac to step down. The two parties, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES, are bound by a power-sharing pact, and so all depends now on their future orchestrated action, because the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats control the Lower House of Parliament and consequently the two supervisory bodies that directly influence Czech television.

PRAVO reports that as of mid 2001 the breeding of dangerous dogs in the Czech Republic might be regulated. A group of right wing Lower House MPs has submitted a bill under which dog owners would bear more responsibility for their animals. The main reason for this is the alarming growth of dog attacks causing serious injuries and a total absence of legislation which would regulate their breeding conditions, say the MPs. That's why they propose that the breeding of dangerous dogs be only allowed with special permission. The new legislation is to prevent owners of dangerous dogs bringing them up and training them to be aggressive, writes PRAVO.

LIDOVE NOVINY devotes a whole page to some of the changes Czechs can expect in the new year. First and foremost, says the paper, our household budgets will be higher due to price increases in energy, water and gas. But there will be more pleasant changes, too - mainly due to the fact that regulations in many spheres of life will have to get closer to EU standards: for instance people will work only 40 hours a week instead of the present 42 and a half , and young employees will have longer holidays - four instead of three weeks. According to LIDOVE NOVINY road traffic regulations will also change for the better, banning the use of mobiles while driving and giving way to pedestrians on zebra crossings.

And finally HOSPODARSKE NOVINY reports about the decrease of people's trust in president Vaclav Havel. His popularity is lower than ever before, says the paper, with only 45 percent respondents favouring the president over other politicians. Analysts say the biggest reservations come from the voters of the two strongest parties in the country, bound together by a power sharing pact, and that Havel's popularity might also have dropped due to his recent decision to grant pardons to a number of people serving sentences for serious crimes.