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Czech media landscape “shifting towards domestic tycoons”

Prague, Czech Republic – A new study has warned of the growing concentration of the Czech media market in the hands of domestic tycoons.

Growing concentration and politicisation of Czech media market

According to a wide-ranging international study by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute, “the Czech media market has experienced further ownership concentration with control shifting towards domestic tycoons” in the past year.

Authors of the report were mainly referring to the takeover of Bauer Media’s assets by Mafra, a group formerly owned by Prime Minister Andrej Babis, as well as the purchase of several Czech assets from France’s Lagardère by Czech Media Invest, property of Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, the country’s fifth richest man.

The study also highlights that “the increasing politicisation and more explicit partisanship of the Czech news media have been reflected in the intensification of struggles for political independence of the public service broadcasters”.

Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019

Public broadcasters most trusted media, according to Oxford University study

But “despite the rising political hostility, public service broadcasting as an institution can still rely on substantial support from the Czech public”. According to their survey, public broadcasters (both TV and radio) are still the most trusted sources of news and information for the Czech public, who otherwise has a very low confidence in news in general (only 33%).

Despite a drop in confidence by respectively five and eight points since 2015, online media (85%) and TV (77%) remain the most widely-used sources of information in the Czech Republic, well ahead of print newspaper (28%, -9 points) – as shown on the graph below.

Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019

Czech Radio most trustworthy media in the Czech Republic

A study by the AMI Digital Agency, released a few days ago, appears to confirm the findings of the Oxford team. According to their survey, Czech Public Radio (Český rozhlas) is the most trusted media in the Czech Republic, with 62% of respondents saying it was a trustworthy source of news and information, a nearly 10% increase compared to the AMI Digital Index 2018.

In second place comes Radio Impuls, also trusted by slightly more than half of Czechs.

For Jan Kučmáš from AMI Communications, quoted by local media, the Czech Republic remains an exception compared to other Visegrad Group countries, where public media don’t have much credit and such a good reputation. In general, Czechs tends to trust the radio the most compared to other types of media.

Growing mistrust towards social media and online content

According to the AMI Digital Index 2019, Czechs’ trust and confidence in the internet, websites and social media as a reliable source of information took a strong hit, decreasing by 10% compared to last year. Internet is increasingly seen as a dubious and unreliable source of information not to be trusted, for Czech citizens.

The study also points out that, although Facebook remains the most popular social media in the Czech Republic, its audience and base is stagnating, while other platforms, in particular Instagram, are rapidly growing to become Czechs’ new favorite social media tool.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.