“Church, Utah Featured on Czech TV,” Ensign, Aug. 1993, 80
More than five million television viewers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia will get better acquainted with the Church and Salt Lake City through the eyes of three Czechoslovakian visitors.
The visitors were Premysl Cech, a news reporter for Czechoslovak Television; Radim Smetana, a producer of cultural programming for the broadcasting company; and technician Lubos Stoklasa. They were invited to Salt Lake City after the Church Public Affairs Department received a letter requesting an invitation to tape footage of and conduct interviews about Utah and the Church for several thirty-minute segments to be used on the show “OBJEKTIV.”
The program focuses on different aspects of countries all over the world and is one of the most popular Sunday morning shows in the two countries, noted Mr. Cech. Because people in the Czech Republic and Slovakia know little about the Church, Mr. Cech thought these segments would be useful to his audience.
Mr. Smetana’s first contact with the Church was when the Tabernacle Choir toured eastern Europe in 1990. This association ultimately led to the request to do the segments on the Church and Utah.
In his letter requesting the visit, Mr. Cech wrote: “It is our job and moral duty to educate and inform our citizens truthfully about events and life in Western countries and offer them examples of achievements and life-styles, so our society can survive not only financially, but morally. … Most citizens are not fully informed about the life-styles and activities of [the Church]. Yet, as we understand, members of this church are happy and successful people.”
Tom Daniels, manager of media relations for the Church, noted that “they knew nothing about who or what we Latter-day Saints are. They were interested in what people here do, in technological advances, in the culture and music, and in our values. They wanted to communicate positive values to their people.”
Mr. Cech explained that as the transition from a socialistic society to a free-market society is made in these two countries, it will be necessary for people to learn to live under and deal with new conditions. He noted that LDS values and manner of thinking are important for people to know about because money and property are not the most important things for most Church members.
Brother Daniels traveled with the three men during their two-week visit. The Czech visitors interviewed Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve, Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, Czechoslovakian Latter-day Saint families in Salt Lake City, and families with missionaries serving in the two countries. The group also toured Temple Square, the Family History Library, Arches National Park, Snowbird, and other places.
The Church Public Affairs Department provided the Czechs with equipment and a photographer, Peter Semelka, a Salt Lake video and television producer and a native Czechoslovakian.