25 February 1998


Charges against owner of private TV production house changed on eve of amnesty

Incident details

legal action

(RSF/IFEX) - On 2 February 1998, two 1997 defamation actions against Zdenek
Zukal, owner and director of the private TV Studio ZZIP, were redesignated
as "libellous accusations" (translated from the French, "accusations
calomnieuses") pursuant to Article 174.1 of the Czech Criminal Code. The
charges were redesignated on the eve of the proclamation of a presidential
amnesty which declared void all legal actions for "defamation." The
journalist faces a maximum three-year prison sentence.

**Updates IFEX alert dated 9 January 1998**

RSF is shocked that the charge was reworded on the eve of an amnesty which
should have resulted in the action being dropped against Zukal.

Background Information

According to an alert issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),
Zukal was detained by police on 5 January 1998. He had been summoned to
police headquarters for questioning about a news piece he had produced for
TV Nova's evening broadcast, which aired on 19 November 1997. Zukal refused
to answer questions about the report, and as a result the police charged him
by presenting him with a document which was dated 22 December 1997.

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.


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