Press Review

r_2100x1400_radio_praha.png

A variety of topics are covered in today's papers, ranging from the fear of the deadly SARS virus spreading to the Czech Republic to the country's political and economic involvement in the rebuilding of Iraq. All main dailies lead with different stories and feature different photos.

A variety of topics are covered in today's papers, ranging from the fear of the deadly SARS virus spreading to the Czech Republic to the country's political and economic involvement in the rebuilding of Iraq. All main dailies lead with different stories and feature different photos.

China, photo: CTK
MLADA FRONTA DNES leads with a warning by Prague's chief hygiene officer Vladimir Polanecky who predicts the deadly SARS virus will spread to the Czech Republic. Chances are minimal that the Czech Republic will be spared, he says, but the Czech authorities have done little to fight this dangerous and rare case of pneumonia. As little as ten cases could leave the country faced with a massive problem, he adds.

While passengers coming from the affected countries are required to fill out a detailed questionnaire at US airports, controls at Prague's Ruzyne airport only involve the handing out of information booklets. The country's security measures even fail to include a plan dealing with the isolation of all health care workers who could come into contact with the virus, Mr Polanecky notes. With Vietnam being the only country to successfully control SARS, it will be the first to win the battle, he concludes.

Janina Hrebickova, photo: CTK
"Female to lead Czech experts in Baghdad" reads a headline in PRAVO, referring to the appointment of former journalist Janina Hrebickova to the post of Czech coordinator in the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid in Iraq. In a matter of days, once a few formalities have been dealt with, Mrs Hrebickova will be leaving for Iraq with a Czech delegation headed by Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik, the paper quotes Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda as saying.

But, the paper points out, Mrs Hrebickova is one of few Czechs to have had much experience in international missions - she has worked in South Korea, Israel, Great Britain and even headed UN television in Kosovo. The Czech Republic lacks professionals with the skills needed for the rebuilding of Iraq, the paper notes. Those to be sent to Baghdad will have to have language skills, be familiar with the Arab world, and be willing to depart immediately to stay in Iraq for at least one year. The number of people who meet these requirements are few, the paper concludes.

And staying with Iraq. HOSPODARSKE NOVINY writes that Monday's conference on post-war Iraq, during which representatives of the Iraqi opposition took part in a discussion for the first time, is not just a positive development for Iraq but also for the Czech Republic. The country, represented by its ambassador to Kuwait Jana Hybaskova, was one of six invited to the conference, thereby increasing the chances of Czech companies contributing to Iraq's transformation process. Vratislav Janda, from the Czech Embassy in Washington tells the paper that the mere invitation to take part in the conference means that the Czech Republic holds much importance for Iraq's future.

LIDOVE NOVINY carries an interview with Culture Minister Pavel Dostal. In Monday's issue, the paper reported that Mr Dostal plans to propose the withdrawal of the license of the country's biggest private TV station Nova. In response to the article, Mr Dostal was met with rage by TV Nova viewers. He tells the paper that while visiting the Moravian town of Olomouc, a man verbally abused him, shouting "leave TV Nova director Zelezny alone" and then spat on himc. TV Nova viewers are obviously following the same morals as the station they watch, says Mr Dostal, adding he still intends to go through with the legal action to have Nova's licence withdrawn for what he says is its unbalanced and biased reporting.