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Czech Republic: TV Battle Persists

Prague, 29 December 2000 (RFE/RL) -- The embattled director of Czech public television has appealed to authorities for help in ending a standoff with newsroom employees who refuse to accept his leadership. Jiri Hodac gave no details of what steps might be taken. However, his team has already filed criminal complaints against many of the journalists who have refused to allow Hodac to assume control of the newsroom since he was appointed December 20. The rebel journalists say the television's independence is threatened because Hodac is politically biased in favor of parliament speaker Vaclav Klaus. Hodac denies the allegation.

Earlier yesterday, Czech broadcasting regulators said that only programs transmitted by Hodac and his team are legal. The Czech Radio and Television Broadcasting Council also ordered the television to return to the airwaves. Hodac had blacked out broadcasts on Wednesday to block transmissions produced by the rebel journalists.