With three weeks left to run before general elections, Jiří Paroubek has decided to boycott all of the Czech Republic's major newspapers and magazines. The leader of the Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) and front runner in the polls, who aims to become the country's next prime minister, told Lidové noviny that "the conservative media in collusion with right-wing political parties is responsible for orchestrating an atmosphere of hatred." His decision to withdraw from the media follows an attack on ČSSD second-in-command Bohuslav Sobotka, who was punched by a spectator at recent rally. The "media blackout is in direct opposition to the basic principles of a democratic society," complains the daily, while its sister paper Hospodářské noviny notes that the Czech people "are now harvesting the fruits of a negative campaign" similar to the one launched by Paroubek for the general elections in 2006.