The director general of Czech Television, Jan Souček, has announced plans to order a forensic audit of the broadcaster's financial scenario over the past two to three years. The initiative was prompted by media reports initiated by his predecessor, Petr Dvořák, who claimed that Czech TV had a reserve of CZK 2 billion (€81.2 million).
The CZK 2 billion figure was also reiterated by Marek Singer, the head of Prima TV, at a recent press conference organized by an association of private media, suggesting it as a rationale for delaying any changes aimed at increasing television fees.
"There is a narrative in the Czech media landscape that Czech TV is in an extraordinarily good financial position. The outgoing director illustrated this by mentioning that there is CZK 2 billion in the account. This amount is factual, but it's important to note that this sum is not fully liquid and cannot represent funds that Czech TV can use for its operations," said Souček.
He went on to say that only about CZK 200 million (€8.12 million) of the two billion is in fact liquid. "CZK 700 million (€28.42 million) is reserved according to long-term plans, about CZK 500 million (€20.3 million) is involved in disputes with the financial administration, and several hundreds of millions are earmarked for use in an already reduced budget," Souček clarified.
David Břinčil, Financial Director of Czech TV, confirmed the accuracy of all previous reports on the financial situation of public broadcaster. He emphasized that as of June 30, the Czech TV had funds in the amount of CZK 2 billion, which increased to approximately CZK 2.4 billion (€97.44 million) after a refund of CZK 422 million (€17.13 million) due to unjustified maneuvers of the tax administration during the summer.
The expected balance as of December 31, 2023, according to long-term forecasts, was initially CZK 1.14 billion (€46.28 million). "I expect the figure at the end of the year to be around two billion, not 1.14 billion," the financial director admitted. Of that amount, CZK 220 million (€8.93 million) is earmarked for investments that cannot be made this year, CZK 430 million (€17.46 million) is involved in legal disputes with the tax authorities, and about CZK 200 million exceeds the planned financial income for this year.
Jan Souček's nominee for the upcoming audit remains unclear. He intends to consult with the management on the procurement procedure before signing a contract. The results of the audit will be used for discussions on the reform of the financing of the Czech TV.
In addition, the former director, Petr Dvořák, has demanded repayment of an annual bonus for 2020 in the amount of CZK 822,800 (€33,430.48), which was initially reduced by the Czech Television Council. According to Souček, a legal analysis of this request is underway.