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Respekt in English22. 4. 20076 minut

Payback time: Topolánek and 'voyeurs'

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek says he has decided to answer only "important questions" posed by the news media. And he gets to decide which ones those are.

Prime ministers of this country have always had a problem getting along with a free press and Topolánek has been fighting the media for most of his short reign. In contrast to his predecessors, however, Topolánek doesn't limit himself to shouting about a media cesspool. He puts his views in writing.

There already are so many anecdotes about Topolánek's open hostility to the press that any political reporter has a few up his sleeve. To cite one that is especially piquant: The scene is the congress of ODS at the Veletržní palác in Prague. Mirek Topolánek is escorting the Slovak former prime minister, Mikuláš Dzurinda. While passing the press stand, Topolánek nods his head in that direction and states: „These are our media-whores.“

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So that's how it is. The current head of the cabinet offends the mass media people, chides them for alleged „stupid questions“ and often fails to respond at all – even to queries that deal with key issues of foreign or domestic policy.

Before the election, Topolánek lectured his opponents on dealing with the media as a practical matter. Journalists, he said, are the mediators between the public and the world of politics. Given that stated attitude, his current practices are surprising.

What has happened to the prime minister? We know now. He published his views in a blog at www.aktualne.cz in a contribution entitled „About the journalists – and a little bit about me, as well.“ He said he lives by…

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