Czech Television is the first of the EBU's members to undergo the EBU's PSM values review. The broadcaster is developing along the right path, but is bogged down by excessive regulation, according to the team of international media professionals who carried out the evaluation.
The international audit process evaluates the extent to which the basic values of public service are being met. Similar evaluations have been carried out with television stations in Finland, Switzerland and Belgium. The team of international auditors assessed the development of universality, independence, uniqueness, diversity, responsibility and innovation of public service of Czech Television, based on specific results, projects and activities. For each value, the results of the audit describe the current situation and provide recommendations for the future.
"CT plays a defining role within Czech society, and should be enabled to perform its tasks and mission in a challenging but safe environment, where the regulation and legal background are robust and respectful of CT’s independence and the funding system is sustainable," the auditors stated in their report. They cited over-regulation as a potential threat to Czech Television's independence: "CT operates in an over-regulated environment. Even the Television Code, which includes the rules relating to editorial decision-making, is voted on by the Parliament. Besides, the Code is old and no longer adapted to the digital world. We recommend that CT propose a more mature self-regulation system to the Parliament, based on robust legal principles, and a clear definition of responsibilities."
It was also agreed that clear rules regarding financing and freedom from political influence are fundamental for ensuring press freedom and the independence of public media.
EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre travelled to Prague for the presentation of the audit results: "The public media organisations in the EBU are currently the most trustworthy sources of information in their countries and reach more than 90% of the European population. And when we thought about what it is that distinguishes them from the others, we arrived at the conclusion that it is the set of values that define them. And the subject of our audit was to what extent these values are fulfilled in individual countries. In it, we are attempting to ensure that the entire organisation is evaluated, first through self-evaluation and latterly through evaluation by foreign television professionals who have many years of their own experience with public media."
"These recommendations are extremely important for us, and although it will not be possible to adapt everything to the Czech environment, which of course is specific, I see them as a strong impulse both for internal changes within Czech Television and for the debates that will need to be held regarding the planned amendments to media legislation," said Czech Television Director General Petr Dvořák.
The audit was conducted by a team of five foreign experts; Claudio Cappona, former Director General of Italian RAI and a member of the EBU Presidium, Thomas Hinrichs, Director of German ARD, Lauri Kivinen, Director General of Finnish TV network YLE, Alexander Wrabetz, Director General of Austria's ORF, and Hans Laroes, head of the EBU's public service media evaluation project.