Czech Republic is a country just to the east of Germany with a population of 10.2 million and capital city of Prague. It formed in 1993 when Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Under communism, 97% of business was under state ownership, now 20% is under state ownership. The country is reducing its use of highly polluting brown coal, but is moving more to nuclear energy. It is a member of both NATO and the European Union. 
- Private media in the Czech Republic mushroomed in the 1990s, and private radio and TV stations provide stiff competition for public broadcasters. Press freedom is protected by a charter of basic rights. The country is pressing ahead with the digitisation of TV broadcasting; there are plans to switch off analogue signals by 2012.
La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. has a program of studies, Master of Arts in Professional Communication and Public Relations, where U.S. students go to the Czech Republic for one year to learn public relations. La Salle's website states, "Organizations face many challenges communicating in a global economy. From executives to employees to activists, organizations must interact with a variety of key stakeholders and diverse publics. Prague is at the center of these global trends, with a growing market economy, a mature political system, and a well-developed mass media system. International public relations experts agree that these are the ingredients necessary for the development of a sophisticated public relations profession." 
U.S. military bases
The U.S. wants to expand its military presence in Europe eastward by building a pair of military bases, one in Poland and one in the Czech Republic. Interceptor missiles would be put in Poland and a corresponding radar base would be in the Czech Republic. Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison writing for Foreign Policy In Focus in February 2008 said, "With the occupation of Iraq soon to enter its sixth year and the looming possibility of war against Iran, it’s easy for Americans not to notice the Bush administration’s attempt to expand the U.S. military presence in Europe. A new Cold War between the United States and Russia threatens. And the U.S. media is paying little attention.
"Even many in the peace movement don’t know that Washington has proposed to install 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar military base in the Czech Republic. The missiles and radar taken together constitute an anti-missile system purportedly meant to defend against Iran and other “rogue” states. In fact, they represent a new expansion of U.S. global military power and an escalation of the arms race with Russia.
"Opposition to the proposed U.S. installations, however, is gathering force within Poland and the Czech Republic. And even the U.S. Congress has shown a measure of skepticism. The expansion of U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe is far from a done deal." 
The Washington Post wrote in January 2007, 'there is considerable public opposition to the plans in both countries.
'After nearly eight months of political paralysis, a new Czech government finally won a vote of confidence this month -- and the United States issued its request for negotiations shortly afterward. But the government is ruling without a majority in Parliament, which would have to ratify any agreement. It is far from certain that such a vote would win today, political analysts said.
'Jitka Pozdenova, who works for a nongovernmental organization that promotes international exchange programs for high school students, said that she opposes the base and that people don't trust U.S. intentions. "A lot of people are against it because it is an American thing and not a Czech or European operation," she said. "People feel America is doing it for itself."'
- Mirek Topolanek, Prime minister, leads three-party, centre-right coalition
- Vaclav Klaus, President, largely ceremonial, conservative Civic Democratic Party
Related SourceWatch articles
- Czech Republic and coal
- Craig Roberts Stapleton
- Karel Schwarzenberg
- Prague Security Studies Institute
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
- Radio Free Iraq
- U.S. military bases overseas
- Vaclav Havel
- Czech Republic, National Geographic, accessed March 2008.
- Country profile: Czech Republic, BBC, accessed March 2008.
- Professional Communication in Prague, Czech Republic, La Salle University, accessed March 2008.
- Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison, "Pushing Missile Defense in Europe", Foreign Policy In Focus, February 22, 2008.
- Bruce I. Konviser, "U.S. Missiles in E. Europe Opposed by Locals, Russia", Washington Post, January 28, 2007.
- "Czechs try new government line-up", BBC, January 9, 2007.
- "Czech village 'vetoes' US shield", BBC, March 18, 2007.