Czech state radio censors church ad
In a move reminiscent of the Communist era, state-run radio has banned a radio commercial produced by the Catholic bishops on the grounds that it amounts to proselytism.
The commercial, which was designed to encourage Catholics to declare their faith when they fill out the census form, read: "The Church is not a museum, but a living community that counts on you. Remember your faith at the time of the census."
It aired on private stations without causing a stir, but officials of the State broadcaster declared it was a form of proselytism, and therefore should be rejected. The station's directors denied political interference, though the spokesman for the Catholic bishops' conference Fr Daniel Hermanns believes the Government fears the growth of the power and influence of the church in what is regarded as one of the most atheistic countries in the world.
"Opinions circulate that the politicians exerted pressure in order to impede the transmission of the announcement," said Fr Daniel Hermanns. "The fears are caused by what is seen as an excessive presence of Catholics in the country."
He said the Church's charitable and pastoral activity has grown significantly in the past decade, and this is 'not well regarded' by many of the 'recycled former Communists' who are still active in politics.