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CzechTek WebLog

Ztohoven vs. Czech Television


2008-01-8, 19:24:00 • English
Prague CastleZtohoven vs. Czech Television
(8th January 2008, 19:23 GMT)

A broadcast of Czech Television (ČT) was attacked by the free subversive group Ztohoven in June 2007. Ztohoven had spotted a weak point in the television system and broadcast a fictitious nuclear explosion over an actual weather report on the Czech regions. Although the group's criticism wasn't aimed at Czech Television in particular, but at media practices in general, the management of ČT (the Czech public television network) reacted angrily and since, uses every opportunity for revenge.
First, in August 2007 during the reading of the news about the police investigation of the group Ztohoven, it used shots of Taliban warriors as illustration. ČT claimed that it happened in error.
If the "manipulation" with terrorists contains an inkling of humour, than the official reaction to the awarding of a major prize by the National Gallery to the group (see below) lacks not just humour, but objectivity or any adequacy at all. It would be more appropriate to speak about an hysterical reaction. The emotive statement of the spokesman of ČT can be compared to such treasures of Czech propaganda as the article by former prime minister Jiří Paroubek refering to the violent police action against the CzechTek festival in 2005, where he denounced battered fans of freetekkno culture as "dangerous and obsessed individuals spreading jaundice and AIDS"; or possibly to the legendary article by Jaroslav Kojzar and Jiří Janouškovec of the communist press from 1983 that unleashed repression aiming at Czechoslovak punk and new wave bands.
The last hit below the belt has appeared in the coverage concerning the indictment of Ztohoven, where ČT's reporter didn't miss the opportunity to betray the real name of one of the group's members, who normally uses a pseudonym.
Czech Television is often criticised for it's low professionality and insufficient independence from political structures. The last big scandal from 2007 showed that the director of ČT had violated the law for several years by appointing to a managerial position a former member of the People's Militia of the communist regime. This is illegal.
Finally, the case of Ztohoven proves as well that even after 18 years, the totalitarian spirit in this institution is more present than might appear at first sight.



Reaction of Czech Television to award NG 333 to the Ztohoven group
(7th December 2007)

Czech Television was strongly disconcerted by the information that the art group Ztohoven was awarded a major prize by the National Gallery and ČEZ (Czech Power Company). It is actually quite debatable, what today qualifies as art. From an artistic point of view, it would surely be an extraordinary act, for example, to set fire to Prague Castle. Apocalyptical images would surely fly around the world and photographers and filmmakers would get many awards for capturing them. But is this still art? By it's decision, the National Gallery has sent a very bad signal to society. Violation of the law of this country was elevated to the level of art and was even decorated! It is a bad signal for viewers of Czech Television as well. In fact, this violation of the law could in a worst case scenario, cost television ratepayers up to 5 million CZK, the upper limit of the fine looming over Czech Television for Ztohoven's act. It's up to each viewer to consider if he wants to involuntarily sponsor this alleged art. No wonder that facades of private houses are defaced by the "art-as-well" of sprayers, the tombstones of our ancestors are uprooted and valuable artworks are destroyed. By its decision the National Gallery has sent a message to all vandals: you are artists and we are ready even to pay you for your "art".

Ladislav Šticha
Czech Television Press Spokesman

source (in czech language): ..:. CeskaTelevize.cz :.

thx jndr, r.& e.
pridej.cz

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