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Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Population: 10.7 million
Internet penetration: 87%
17th June 2024

The Czech media had a turbulent year, characterised by legislative and ownership changes, but also by companies embracing digital innovations, including the use of AI in the newsrooms. The proposal to raise TV licence fees drew strong criticism from commercial media, while publishers have launched a joint campaign to defend their rights against digital platforms.

The media market continued to cope with a challenging financial situation in 2023, negatively impacted by economic recession (-0.4% GDP) and one of the highest inflation rates in the EU (+10.7%). These slowed the process of post-pandemic recovery in the sector and intensified competition for resources, including from digital advertising. Following the amendment to the Copyright Act, transposing the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, 17 leading media companies established the Czech Publishers’ Licensing Association as the collective administrator of publishing rights, to strengthen their hand in negotiations with large tech platforms dominating the market – Google and Facebook in particular – about remuneration for the use of the publishers’ content.1

The drying up of revenue streams has also opened a rift between commercial media and public service media (PSM), following the government’s proposal to raise television and radio licence fees from 2025 (by €1 and 40 cents per month, respectively). Given that the fees have been static for the last 15 years in case of TV, and for 18 years for radio, their planned increase has been welcomed by supporters of Czech Television and Czech Radio as a long-overdue move to secure financial stability of both PSM organisations. However, in an unprecedented joint initiative, representatives of all the main commercial media have united against this plan, criticising the proposal to raise the fees without first (re)defining the mission and role of public service media in the digital age.2

While the future of the PSM funding was a highly contentious issue throughout 2023, the political independence of public service broadcasters has been reinforced. The amendments to the Act on Czech Television and the Act on Czech Radio, adopted in July 2023, have diversified the system of appointment (and dismissal) of the members of both PSM councils, by dividing these responsibilities, for the first time, between the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. In addition, the Acts mean it is no longer possible to sack the entire council, but only individual members, and tighten the rules around nominations, which were often abused in the past for political motives. Even though the appointment process is ultimately still controlled by the Parliament, these changes have been broadly welcomed by media advocacy groups as positive steps, and an improvement compared to the previous system.

Another piece of legislation from 2023 brought about one of the biggest ownership changes on the Czech media market for years. Having closed a loophole that enabled beneficial owners to hide behind other legal entities, the amendment to the Act on Conflict of Interests has finally forced the ex-Prime Minister and leader of the political movement ANO2011, Andrej Babiš, to sell the media assets that have been ‘parked’ in his trust fund since 2017. His former media house, Mafra, and radio broadcaster Londa have been purchased by Kaprain Group, a Czech investment company owned by an entrepreneur Karel Pražák, thereby ending the decade during which one of the country’s leading politicians (and a PM in 2017–21) controlled some of the most influential news media outlets, and a significant proportion of the media market. 

There have been several other ownership changes, including the acquisition of Borgis, the publisher of the daily Právo and content supplier for – one of the top news websites – by the largest Czech digital company Seznam. The country’s oldest political weekly Respekt split from the media house Economia and started operating under a newly established independent publisher Respekt Media, co-owned by the journalists and a consortium of Czech and Slovak investors.

In 2023 there was further expansion of the use of AI in the Czech media, both for content production and moderation. In June, Expres FM (owned by Seznam) became the first commercial radio station to introduce a regular AI programme host; since then, several other AI-generated presenters have been added, mainly to read regional news. In January 2024, regional TV Brno 1 announced plans to use AI avatars as on-screen news anchors. Several media companies, including Seznam, Economia, Prima, or Refresher, started utilising AI for content moderation on discussion forums and social media sites, including the detection and filtering out of disinformation.3  

Václav Štětka
Loughborough University, UK

Changing media

Since 2015, the proportion using TV and print as news sources has declined by 25% and 22%, respectively. Online and social media have also dropped significantly since 2022.

Pay for online news



Trust in news overall



Overall trust in news media has remained low, reflecting the country’s troublesome economic situation and polarised political climate. Trust in individual news brands has increased this year, in some cases significantly (by 4–5pp). The public service media (Czech Television and Czech Radio) continue to hold their status as amongst the most trusted news brands of those polled.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 80.14

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at

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