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Czech Republic: Czech TV Director Hodac Resigns

Prague, 11 January 2001 (RFE/RL) - Jiri Hodac, the controversial general-director of Czech public television, has resigned for health reasons. Hodac was chosen last month by the supervisory Czech Television Council, which is dominated by nominees of the two main parties, the ruling Social Democrats and their opposition allies, the center-right Civic Democrats. But the station's staff refused to accept the appointment, accusing Hodac of political bias. Striking journalists staged a sit-in, already in its third week. A vast majority of the public and President Vaclav Havel supported the journalists and a mass demonstration had been called in Prague for later today against political interference in Czech Television.

The lower house of parliament meets tomorrow in a bid to amend the law on Czech public TV and radio and to replace the TV council with a 15-member body of representives of social organizations.

An aide says the three key managers Hodac appointed will remain in their functions despite Hodac's resignation.

A spokesman for the journalists, Filip Cerny, said the journalists would remain on strike as long as the Hodac-appointed managers remained in power.