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The association of invisibles

The difference stares you right in the face. When the Czech prime minister threatened the media, saying he would "clip their wings" if they didn't leave his family alone, it took the Syndicate of Journalists nine days to offer a shy invitation to the PM to meet with reporters at the discussion table.

  • Autor: Respekt
• Autor: Respekt

The difference stares you right in the face. When the Czech prime minister threatened the media, saying he would „clip their wings“ if they didn't leave his family alone, it took the Syndicate of Journalists nine days to offer a shy invitation to the PM to meet with reporters at the discussion table. When the German Constitutional Court was to decide what takes priority – professional secrecy or freedom of speech – local syndicate members' voices were the loudest in the dispute. Why does the professional organisation of Czech journalists remain „invisible“? And why is this an issue not only journalists should care about?

Nothing for me

The fish stinks from the head. Even for those who don't have anything to do with media, the Syndicate of Journalists can be interesting, because it can play a unique role in interesting debates about the boundaries of free speech (as such groups do in many countries). The question is how to get to that stage. The local Syndicate of Journalists has one special feature. It has 2,800 members, but nobody really knows them. Seniors and journalism students are the majority. None of the chiefs of the most important daily papers (Mladá fronta Dnes, Lidové noviny, Hospodářské noviny and Právo) have membership. Not even Zdeněk Šámal, the current head of news and foreign-affairs department for public broadcaster Czech Television, holds a membership card.

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