Laureate 2002: Jolana Voldánová

Jolana Voldánová

Jolana Voldánová
news anchor on Czech state television, was the face and voice of an editors’ strike against the attempts of politicians to massively curb independent reporting.

It all began on 12 December, 2000, when the Czech Television Council dismissed the director of public broadcaster CT, Dušan Chmelícek, after less than a year in office. A new director, Jiří Hodac, was appointed the very next day. News editors, in particular, were not happy about the change. Hodac and his news director Jana Bobošíková were not well-known for shielding editors from party-political influences.

Jolana Voldánová 2
Jolana Voldánová

Prevailing laws stipulated that the nine-member television council be appointed by the parliamentary parties in power, meaning the council would ultimately reflect the distribution of power in parliament. In other words, the media was liable to political influences. "We need a new law," the editorial staff concluded. The editors of CT decided to go on strike, occupying network headquarters, especially when the new director tried to cancel controversial programs.

The striking editors – honored here collectively in the person of Jolana Voldánová – achieved their goal: after 51 days of courageous protest they succeeded in deposing a director who had been appointed for political reasons. In addition to the resignment of Jiří Hodac and Jana Bobošíková, a new television council elected by civilian groups began its work in May 2001 following a legislative initiative by the Czech parliament.

The real heros are the committed editors who, with little regard for their personal interests, defended freedom of speech and the press in Czech public television. Jolana Voldánová was a participant in this movement and its public face.

Born on 12 January, 1969, Jolana Voldánová began working at Czech state television in 1993. Working first as an editor, she became a news anchor in 1995. In May 2012, she started her own talk show on Czech Broadcast. Since 2014, she is presentator of the show "Je jaká" of the Czech broadcasting station "Dvojka".