Press Review

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The story which gets the most space on Tuesday's front pages is the police anti-corruption unit's investigation of Czech Television director Jiri Balvin, who is accused of dubious dealings. Mlada fronta Dnes however leads with a story about the right-wing Civic Democrats, who a month ahead of general elections have promised to limit the number of asylum seekers and deport illegal immigrants.

The story which gets the most space on Tuesday's front pages is the police anti-corruption unit's investigation of Czech Television director Jiri Balvin, who is accused of dubious dealings. Mlada fronta Dnes however leads with a story about the right-wing Civic Democrats, who a month ahead of general elections have promised to limit the number of asylum seekers and deport illegal immigrants.

The Civic Democrats say, for instance, that foreign stall-holders in the country's many outdoor markets are destroying small Czech shops. Party leader Vaclav Klaus says that what he calls the "taboo" of the question of immigrants simply has to be broken. People discuss the issue at home, and there is no reason for our party not to talk about it in public, Mr Klaus tells the daily.

In an editorial entitled "Klaus Fortuyn", referring to the Dutch populist politician who was recently shot dead, Mlada fronta Dnes pours cold water on the Civic Democrats' anti-immigrant statements. Most Czechs are happy to shop at cheap Vietnamese market stalls, all except the elite that is, the daily says.

In further pre-election coverage, Mlada fronta Dnes interviews a cross section of Czech society, from a pensioner to a young Romany man, and asks them what they hope the next government will bring. "I hope I don't have to see Milos Zeman's face any more," a single mother tells the daily. A woman in a wheelchair meanwhile says she hopes that something is finally done to improve the health care system.

"Americans aren't Russians says mayor" - that's an eye-catching headline in Mlada fronta Dnes. The people of Hradiste in west Bohemia had Soviet soldiers as neighbours for two decades, and complaining about anything they did was out of the question. The American soldiers who are based there now are much better, local mayor Julius Stepanek tells the daily. When US helicopters strayed from the military zone and frightened locals, their commander apologised, says the mayor.

Pro-Sudeten German leaflets which have appeared in Prague and other Czech towns in recent months were produced by Czechs - Czech neo-Nazis that is - according to Pravo. One of a group of skinhead suspects in the case has been arrested, the daily says. The flyers read "the Sudetenland was German and will be again."

Lidove noviny has a more positive story on the subject of Sudeten Germans. This year is the 650th anniversary of the foundation of the north Bohemian town of Liberec, and Sudeten Germans who used to live there are among those who have sent cards of congratulation to the local town hall. In 1940 some 80 percent of the town's residents were German. One former resident, Heinz Pietschmann, who now lives in Bavaria, sent a card wishing the current residents of Liberec a peaceful future.