Czech TV's full ethics panel resigns over disputes with director

Jan Souček
Jan Souček, director general of Czech Television. Source: Czech TV/Edited using Adobe Firefly

All five members of the Czech Television's Ethics Panel resigned en masse, citing an irreconcilable rift with director general Jan Souček over the advisory body's role and remit.

The surprise collective resignation comes after the honorary panel, tasked with upholding ethical standards at the public broadcaster, clashed with Souček on two high-profile cases involving prominent TV journalists.

"Our ideas about what the ethics panel should do differ diametrically from the director general's ideas. We are unable to meet his demands," outgoing member Nikolaj Savický told

The fracture appears to stem from disagreements over assessing remarks by Václav Moravec, host of CT's influential politics show "Václav Moravec's Questions." Moravec had described former president Václav Klaus as "Putin's gubernator in the Czech Republic" during a Slovak newspaper interview, drawing complaints from Klaus's institute.

While the Ethics Panel concluded Moravec's comments did not breach CT's Code of Ethics, as a public figure must endure greater scrutiny, Souček was reportedly unsatisfied with their reasoning.

Tensions escalated further when the panel said it lacked sufficient background to evaluate alleged improper communication between CT reporter Jiří Hynek and those involved in the blackmail scandal at the IKEM hospital. Hynek had abruptly taken leave as related leaks surfaced.

Souček challenged the panel's justification of needing more evidence from an ongoing criminal probe, arguing potential ethics breaches relate to CT's internal policies, not criminal matters.

With both sides entrenched in their positions, the Ethics Panel's five long-serving members - Petr Brod, Richard Hindls, Petr Holubec, Václav Pačes and Nikolaj Savický - unanimously opted to exit.

Souček says he aims to promptly assemble a new team of experts as the public broadcaster's ethics arbiter role hangs vacant.

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