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Safe in the Senate

The week's news at a glance.

Prague

The owner of the Czech Republic’s most popular TV station has evaded his legal difficulties by becoming a senator. Vladimir Zelezny became famous nine years ago when he launched Nova, the country’s first private TV station. Its dubbed American sitcoms and naked weather girls quickly made Nova the most popular channel in the country. But Zelezny’s rapid rise as a business tycoon was marred by lawsuits, title disputes, and charges of tax evasion. Last year he spent several nights in jail pending the posting of bond, and he was to face trial next year. Now, as a senator, he enjoys legal immunity. More established politicians, though, were annoyed that Zelezny, who has his own show on Nova, got what amounted to free airtime. The government is now drafting a law that would prevent owners of radio or television stations from using their media for personal political campaigns.

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