The winners of the literary competition on the subject “Freedom of Speech – Yesterday and Today”
DykovaFoto: Petr Poláček
A literary competition was held for students of secondary schools on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of commencement of broadcasting of Radio Free Europe to Czechoslovakia in May of 1951 and at the instigation of Czech Radio and the Faculty of Arts of Charles University. Dozens of works were received and were assessed by an expert panel, which selected the four best ones.
The works of four students – Jolana Lažová (Gymnázium Josefa Ressela Chrudim), Martina Vrtělová (Gymnázium Kroměříž), Vojtěch Vávra (Gymnázium Jana Keplera, Prague 6) a Tomáš Urbánek (Gymnázium Arabská, Prague 6) – took the first four places.
The panel of experts consisted of Jefim Fištejn, Jakub Jirsa, Luboš Merhaut, Petr Pithart and Jiří Stránský. They all agreed that the essays were at a very high level. Jefim Fištejn wrote: “I evaluated the works from the viewpoint of originality of the concept, imagination and stylistic qualities. I must say that a many of them made a great impression on me.” From the commentary by Jiří Stránský on the work by Martina Vrtělová: “The work reflects responsible preparation, an effort to learn even more than she already knows. She was the only one to bring philosophy and sociology into her viewpoint, which she did in a very efficient manner. The titles of the individual parts of the essay (Courage to fight for freedom, What it means to be a traitor, Pathways to power) also indicate that this subject is close to the heart of Martina Vrtělová. You can also feel in the text that not only is she a diligent student, but she also reads a lot and her reading was most certainly systematic.”
Speaking about the results, Jakub Jirsa of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University added: “While, in our tradition of thinking, historical events have made freedom of speech a value to be sought after, those works that were concerned with its problematic nature were interesting, because freedom of speech protects also (or primarily) those thoughts that we consider to be bad and erroneous.”
The four winners will participate in the Freely! conference devoted to the past and present of Radio Free Europe on 5 May in the premises of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and will visit Radio Free Europe at Hagibor in Prague.
The complete results of the competition, including the texts of the winning essays, can be found at svobodne.rozhlas.cz. For further information, kindly contact the secretary of the competition: PhDr. Zuzana Foglarová, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel.: 221 551 324