Press Releases

5. 3. 2008 11:17

March 5, 2008: Prime Minister’s Award Given to Ivan Medek for His Lifelong Struggle for Freedom

Ivan Medek, a radio journalist, musician and former Chancellor of the President of the Republic, has received an honorary plaque awarded by the Czech Premier. Mirek Topolánek bestowed the distinction on Ivan Medek in recognition of his lifelong struggle for freedom. After the Mašín brothers and Milan Paumer, he is the fourth holder of this award who had opposed the former communist regime in this country.

“I hold Ivan Medek in high esteem because he gave up what he liked and knew, and what he had been trained for in order to retain his freedom of thought and opinion. He gave up his profession of a musician and music critic and worked as a medical orderly, a dishwasher, a cloakroom attendant. After his forced emigration in 1978 we could hear his voice on free Western radio stations. A voice full of inner composure and strength,“ says Czech Premier Mirek Topolánek.

Ivan Medek is, in the words of the Premier, a man who has never been afraid of expressing his opinions. Neither during the totalitarian regime in the country nor after 1989. He is a man you do not have to agree with all the time, but he is a man you should respect. “He is a man who has displayed his unassuming courage by principled positions, come what may,“ adds the Czech Prime Minister.

Medek´s award just as the distinctions given to Milan Paumer and the Mašín brothers are aimed at stimulating a nationwide debate on the third (anti-communist) resistance in this country and reconciliation with the past. According to the Premier, it is crucial to draw a lesson from our recent past to prevent a recurrence of the dark chapters in the nation’s recent history.

Ivan Medek was born in Prague on July 13, 1925, his original profession being musical journalist, theoretician and music critic. His name became known after the signing of the Charter 77, when - as an émigré in Austria - Ivan Medek began working for the radio stations Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and the BBC. After November 1989 Ivan Medek was appointed consultant to the Minister of Culture, Chairman of the Federal Board for Radio and Television Broadcasting and between 1993 and 1998 he worked in the Office of the President of the Republic.

Jana Bartošová, press spokesperson of the Government of the Czech Republic

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