Born on 6 April 1943 in Prague, between 1961 and 1967, Jaromír Štětina studied at the Prague School of Economics. In the autumn of 1968, he began an apprenticeship at the Mladá Fronta newspaper, but after the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies in 1968, he was forced to move to the National Geological Survey in Prague, which he joined as an auxiliary labourer. He then worked as a miner for eight years.
Between 1970 and 1978, he studied Geology at the Charles’ University’s Faculty of Natural Sciences. Between 1970 and 1999, he organised around twenty scientific and recreational expeditions to Siberia and many Asian countries. He founded the sport of rafting in the Czech Republic and authored numerous successful travelogues.
From 1987 to 1989, he organised a series of political lectures, which led to several arrests by the Czechoslovak secret police. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, he joined the revived Lidove Noviny newspaper. From 1990, he worked for three years as Lidové Noviny’s foreign correspondent in Moscow.
In 1992, he founded the Lidové Noviny Foundation and served as its first director. From 1993 to 1994, he was Lidové Noviny’s Editor in Chief. Then, in 1994, he founded the private journalist agency Epicentrum. He is also co-founder of humanitarian organisation People in Need, the biggest Czech NGO and one of the leading NGOs in Central Europe.
Because of his many years of work as a journalist in Russia, he has been officially declared persona non grata by the Russian government. For 14 years, Mr Štětina worked as a war correspondent and witnessed more than 20 conflicts in Europe, Asia and Africa. In 2004, he was elected to the Czech Senate, where he served until his election to the European Parliament in 2014. Jaromír Štětina is the author of several hundred articles, ten books, a number of documentary films and a large number of radio and TV shows.