Czech television is a relentless battle with Internet media. For this purpose even created a special TV show — Newsroom, and this topic is raised in other news and journalistic programs. Why is it done? Is to protect conservative values in the popular media or mainstream the fight against competitors for influence on public opinion?
The topography of the TV propaganda
To these questions you can find a lot of answers. But first, you must navigate to “location”. Over the past year, i.e. since the beginning of April 2016, the weekly Newsroom, which specializiruetsya on trends and developments in the field of the so-called new media, which is often called Internet media (servers, portals, informational, journalistic and analytical content, including social networks), I dedicated about 16 assists. When you consider that in the holiday months, the program does not exit, it turns out that this topic was discussed almost every second live.
We consider only those programs in which this subject was one of the main, but also, she was repeatedly raised in connection with other issues or as part of a brief review. The names of some of the releases speak for themselves: 12.3.2017 “Parlamentní listy: media manipulation. Russian media are suspected of manipulation”, 12.2.2017 “Campaign of disinformation”, 22.1.2017 “Fight against misinformation and hoaxes”, 8.1.2017 “Center CTHH: combating propaganda and lies in the media,” 27.11.2016 “Russian propaganda”, 30.10.2017 “anti-propaganda”, 19.6.2016 “Pro-Kremlin media,” 29.5.2016 “anti Russian propaganda”, 10.4.2016 “Prague — the center of anti-Russian propaganda” and so on.
The topic of new media, of course, raises not only a specialized transmission Newsroom. Very often this subject is mentioned in other programs, particularly in Události komentáře, which airs daily on weekdays. There this issue not only becomes one of the main discussion, but is mentioned in the block of commented news. In the same period of observations the topic of new media was a major in the program 12 times. Here are just a few names: 7.3.2017 “Control over social networks”, 6.3.2017 “Terrorism propaganda”, 25.1.2017 “Military counterintelligence and Internet freedom”, 10.1.2017 “Information and misinformation”, 6.1. 2017 “Safety and disinformation”, 20.1.2017 “Center of counter-terrorism and hybrid threats,” 29.11.2016 “New powers of the security services,” 27.7.2016 “Mass media and social networks as a battlefield.”
Another program where the theme of the online media is regularly discussed, it’s @online. In it, the topic comes up very often, which, given the format, of course, but as a rule, approach to the subject is reduced to one single opinion on that much-criticized alternative Internet media are carriers of Pro-Russian propaganda. This thesis promotes, for example, the server Hlídací pés (by the way, very advocated in the programs @online and Newsroom), chief editor Robert Brustna invited to the Czech TV too often. Similarly, representatives of the analytical center “European values” Radko Gockowski and Jakub Janda are almost constantly involved in the ether. So constantly and explicitly promoted one of the projects of the society “European values” — Kremlin movement Watch. It is supposedly intended to identify so-called propaganda and disinformation activities of the Russian political and media structures in the Czech media.
The theme of the digital or online media, of course, permeates, penetrates, and other information transfer, such as Události (e.g. the plot from 27.11.2016 “How to deal with lies and misinformation”) and 90 ČT24 (e.g. from 3.1.2017 “combating propaganda and terrorism”). But what is a common characteristic for all these programs is the above-mentioned approach. In fact always, when Czech television talks about the field of independent, alternative information and analytical Internet media, sound adjectives that relate to the perceived hostile policies of the Russian Federation. Terms such as “Pro-Kremlin”, “Pro”, “Pro-Putin” are found almost in every reference to this generally very diverse and often politically fragmented category.
Why is this happening
The reasons may be two. They both likely and interrelated. On the one hand, the journalists who deal with the issue of new media, too lazy and don’t want to see the whole range of points of view, positions, attitudes that are reflected in these media. Therefore, it is easier to gather everything in one pile, which begs the title: “the Official policy of the EU and our political elite, in General imitating the Brussels government, according to which East of the Kremlin, approaching us of the legendary Russian frosts” (quite similar to those in his ever famous book described Zdenek Mlynarz). They identificeret modern policy of the Russian Federation with the policy of the former Soviet Union and see it as a common enemy, the enemy of the so-called European values (this time with a small letter e at the beginning of words), attributing it to a supernatural ability to penetrate with their propaganda in the Czech media and the minds of their audience. So simplified propaganda picture sets the trajectory for follow-up action in the field of media and politics.
Lists of “enemies”
The active media is obvious and widespread. In the Czech Republic like mushrooms after the rain, there are always “independent” and “impartial” journalistic portals. In addition to the aforementioned portal Hlídací RES, there are Forum24 formerly Svobodné fórum (its editor-in-chief Paul Safr before there was a media lobbyist and chief editor of the tabloid edition of the Reflex), and Neovlivní.cz (the founder and until recently editor in chief Sabine Slonkova last appeared in the notorious case of “the Lead”). The latter website even had a list of “undesirable” people and the media. For example, under the heading “Pro-Kremlin media” such official, created by the government of the Russian edition as Sputnik News, as well as Czech independent, having nothing to do with the Russian policy publications, for example Parlamentní listy.cz. This suggests that the purpose of such lists is not to communicate truthful information and the dissemination of explicit propaganda based on speculation.
Also in a heading “Russian trace Database from A to Z” to find the names of people who have little in common, except for one thing: they all share a distrust clearly dictated and imposed on the “truth”. Typical examples are the canadian of Czech origin Vladimir Alignment, the publisher portal Zvědavec.org Peter Hájek, a former adviser to Vaclav Klaus, which publishes the journal Protiproud.cz, Bretislav Olser, writer, left-wing, which is at the head of the site Rukojmí.cz and many others.
Given the above it is clear that we are talking about a geopolitical war waged by the representatives of the interests of the West, particularly the EU, support and inspire US. As proof can result in the fact that many of these projects such as “European values” or Neovlivní.cz, are financed from the funds of billionaire George Soros. Center “European values” reports about it in their annual reports and server Neovlivní.cz — right on your website.
The purpose of all this is to create the General public the impression that its on all sides by the threat of (Russian) propaganda, which paves the way for future invasion of Russia in Central and Eastern Europe. It is in this context a global and, in particular, the Czech mainstream media, including online media, as well as Czech television, portrayed a civil war in Ukraine and the events surrounding the referendum on joining of Crimea to Russia. This methodology is time-tested: “we will Find and mark the enemy; if not, it will create themselves, think it, then draw it to the attention of people in order to distract them from their own intentions and actions. If need be, the enemy then can serve as a good alibi for further questionable actions in our domestic politics.
Welcome back, censorship!
State intervention in freedom of speech receives, and material expression. From January 2017 the Ministry of internal Affairs of the Czech Republic there is a new body called the “Centre of the fight against terrorism and hybrid threats”, which aims to identify and refute “misinformation from abroad”. De facto it service supervision, which monitors the undesirable activities of foreign and, probably, the Czech groups, United by common interests and beliefs. In addition, the center sets as its goal to monitor public performances of these groups in the online space, websites, social networks and so on. In addition to this formal step, the Chechen interior Ministry has gone to another very specific: the Ministry of internal Affairs conducts negotiations with the social network Facebook. The aim of monitoring the progress of the campaign in social networks with the goal of “eradication of misinformation”, that can only be viewed as censorship. And government censorship, actively support private companies, civil society and the so-called “independent media”.
This is a brand new phenomenon. Still censorship was most unpleasant for people method of dealing power with opponents. Now this hypocritical, pseudo-democratic rhetoric, supported by the collective efforts of the power and media elites who are trying to retain their influence and power in their hands as long as possible, despite the complete rejection and resistance most of the citizens. The main argument of the authorities in this process is the support it finds in a civil, or rather the so-called non-governmental sector, and, thus, it turns out that the government speaks and acts in the public interest. To do this, NGOs and similar media create, helping the ruling elites, comfortable, but totally unconvincing background. Therefore, their propaganda is so ineffective.
The role of the Czech television
The role of Czech television in this process, which gradually covers and infects the remnants of a free society in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe are manifold. First, Czech television supports and gives carte Blanche to the propaganda actions of the authorities and related structures, endlessly repeating the same stated theme by the mouth of assigned characters. Topic “Kremlin threat”, the heroes of “the intrepid explorers of this threat, usually from NGOs”. Czech television is abusing its status as a public organization, positioning itself as a model of independent journalism and the only source of objective and unbiased information.
While Czech television uses various techniques of manipulation, starting with the time proven techniques of gate-keeping (gatekeeper, controlling what topics can and which cannot be reached through the media to the audience) until the agenda-setting that is highly biased selection of topics that “feed” the audience, and through which should be formed by public opinion. Among other techniques — the method of “overlap”, that is, the displacement of a threat to the power and mediality information from public media.
For this audience include sensation — not essential, but attractive news, which interrupts all the other more meaningful to the public messages that the media pushed to the background. So spins the so-called spiral of silence. Under the former regime, it was called “who is not with us is against us”. This effect of psychological pressure on the journalists themselves ensures loyalty to only the point of view promoted by one or another mass medium, and eliminates the possibility of any discussion.
Technician manipulating a lot: sometimes withholding undesirable information, and creating a virtual reality or fake authority. But all this, on Czech television as if there is. After all, it is supposedly the standard of objectivity, professionalism and ethics. Why can and should trust him and based on his information, to evaluate any other coming from other sources. Therefore, the Czech television so interested in politicians: they believe, often wrongly, that Czech television still has a significant impact on future voters, and therefore on the way these politicians into power.
The myth of the “influence” of Czech television
In this regard, here are some figures that can illustrate genuine and not an imaginary influence of Czech television on the image of thoughts and judgments of citizens. These data refute the myth of a large audience and the extreme influence of Czech television. In connection with the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the launch of the news channel of Czech television, his management stated that ČT 24 looking 4% of Czechs. This is much lower than the audience for entertainment programmes (on public and commercial TV channels). The representatives of Czech TV added that, according to polls, ČT 24 trusts over 80% of the audience. This is an interesting figure. The primary school students without work will count 80% from 4% to 3.2%. That is, this channel trusts 3.2% of the Czech TV audience. (The logic is hardly one who does not watch the channel, can Express their confidence or distrust.) We will consider further.
In the year of Czech TV receives about six billion of subscriber fees. In a month the fee is 135 CZK and in the year 1620, – CZK. This implies that charged about 3.7 million subscribers. Given the fact that the country is home to approximately 10 million citizens, subscribers are about 37% of them. However, we should note that the fee charged to’, not a citizen, and therefore, the percentage can be much higher. Be generous and assume that the fee paid by, for example, the owner of a café or other establishment. And, of course, if the fee was “per person”, he would release the children up to 18 years. Thus, viewers of ČT, which can be counted, as they are in one form or another, be charged, is half the population of the country. That is five million people. This means that ČT 24 watch only 4% of this amount, that is 200 thousand people. Of them channel trusts only 160 thousand. It remains to add that the rest of the people get information in other places — most often on the Internet.
Another reason for the active participation of the Czech television in this campaign against alternative media — the interests of a modern political elite. Related tacit responsibility, the representatives of the greater part of the elite will never dare to speak out against Czech television, even if the arguments were undeniable. This is explained again by faith in his influence and ability to bring politicians to their high posts. Without a doubt, this is the reason “unspoken agreement”, following which, this year, six months before the end of the mandate (approximately the same time will be the parliamentary elections) is completely unprecedented, was re-elected Director General of the TV channel. Thus, there is reason to believe that the current leadership of the Czech TV has kept his place in exchange for support in the air those politicians who provided assistance. Bash to bash.
Fear of competition
Finally, an important reason for the activity of Czech television in the suppression of independent alternative media is fear of losing their monopoly on information, and hence the impact. Czech television, for some not very clear reason, apparently, as the ostrich with its head in the sand believes that if you do not pay attention to reality, it will cease to exist. But it’s not. I would not want to bore the expert treatises, but I will allow myself to quote the classic media theory Denis Makwala, which was paid in his new book “Journalism and society” great concern for the growth of the new media sector — the Internet media.
Mackwell, writes that the Internet as a space of new media causes several fundamental changes. When they put the media world will never be the same. Well, according to Dennis Makwala, new? “Unlimited or only slightly limited the access of the audience to media space, its mobility, multimedia — all this becomes the norm (we add that this is not an advantage of TV — approx. Janovskeho). Interactivity in media use is replacing the (former) passivity, limited control and regulation, there is a large variety of authors and materials replaced the earlier dominant media — printed Newspapers and broadcast.”
I think that our topics of the paragraph, which refers to restrictions or almost zero possibilities of regulation and control over media content on the Internet. Despite the fact that for several years now the European Union is trying to come up with a comprehensive method to take the Internet, first of all its information part, under control, no success. The reason is simple: the Internet is essentially free space. It can include any and depending on its proposed content to the response, to find an audience and followers. This limitless democracy as a thorn in the side of traditional media and, primarily, the Czech television. All because Czech television is the only media that is paid for by secondary taxes on citizens, but not at the expense of commercial activity of a private owner.
Private owner risks his money, and the fate of his media depends on market conditions and its own ability to adapt to these. And the existence of public television depends entirely on the political will of legislators and governments. As soon as they stop believing in the Chimera and the Emperor’s new clothes, you probably realize that only decisive action in relation to ČT, whether a strengthening of control, the transition to financing from the budget or even the elimination and replacement of certain public projects in other media, can attract voters who had not believed the authorities. Including the fact that she still nurtured the Czech TV in the protective incubator.
I am an optimist, and because I believe that a moment of Epiphany and change is near. One day people will finally get.