Newspapers in Czech Republic
According to HISTORYAAH.COM, Czech Republic is a country located in Europe. The mass media in the Czech Republic has undergone major changes since the state was formed in 1993. Democratization and privatization characterized the first state of the new state, while new technology in the IT sector created new business models from 2000 onwards.
The Czech Republic was part of Czechoslovakia until 1993 and the freedom of the press in the country has a short history, with the exception of the years between the two world wars. During Germany’s occupation of 1939–45, all media were censored. After World War II until 1989, the country was part of the Eastern Bloc and all media were controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
Since the fall of communism, the Czech media market has been liberalized and there are no restrictions on foreign ownership. As a result, a large part of the media industry is controlled by companies from other countries. Freedom of expression and prohibition against censorship are regulated by legislation, and the Czech Republic ranks 14th on Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, ahead of countries such as Germany, Ireland, France and Spain (2012).
Internet and mobile telephony
More than 70% of households have access to the Internet, but accessibility is increasing significantly as more and more people connect via mobile broadband.
The Czech Republic is one of the few countries where a domestic site, Seznam, is the most visited, before Google. Seznam, which in Swedish means ‘list’, is a portal and search engine that was founded as early as 1996.
Foreign operators dominate the Czech mobile market. The largest is German T-Mobile, followed by Spanish O2 and British Vodafone. 3G coverage is low relative to neighboring countries and covers just over half of the population (2012).
TV and radio
Prior to the fall of communism, there was only one broadcaster, the state-run Česká Televize (ČT), which began its broadcasts in 1953. ČT is today a licensed public service company with four channels broadcasting (2012).
There are about 15 terrestrial nationwide channels owned by private companies. The largest is Nova, owned by American Time Warner. Prima, which is owned by Swedish MTG, has the second largest market share (2012). In addition, there are hundreds of cable TV channels with approximately the same range as in Sweden.
Radio broadcasting started in 1923 in Prague. State and license-funded Radio Praha has broadcasts in seven national and 13 regional channels. The company has broadcasts in six different languages and also produces many programs for Czechs in exile in collaboration with radio stations in i.a. Australia and the United States. Almost all the range is available on the internet. In 2011, shortwave shipments ended after the state appropriations were almost halved and a quarter of the workforce was terminated.
In addition to the state-controlled radio, there are some 70 national and regional channels owned by private companies. The largest in the private market is French Lagardere Active Radio International SA with the nationwide station Frekvence 1 and German Eurocast Broadcast Beteiligungs with national Radio Impulse.
Daily press and magazine
There are some 70 daily newspapers, of which seven are national. About 80% of them are owned by German and Swiss publishing houses. The biggest is the tabloid Blesk, co-owned by the Swiss-German media house Ringier / Axel Springer. It was started in 1992 with German Picture and Swiss Blick as role models and has a circulation of just over 400,000 items. (2012). The focus is on celebrity surveillance and scandal reporting.
A special position occupies the liberal Lidové noviny (about 60,000 ex.), Founded in Brno in 1893 as an agency for intellectuals, later banned and illegally restarted as a monthly newspaper in 1987, harassed by the authorities but daily since 1990. Since 1998 it is owned by the German Rheinisch-Bergische Druckerei und Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and after the change of ownership has focused on popularizing the content of the hunt for increased circulation.
The same media house also publishes the second largest daily newspaper, Mladá fronta Dnes, a right-wing tabloid with a circulation of just over 200,000 copies. (2012). There are also a few news magazines that are published once a week. Most influential is Reflex, owned by Ringier / Axel Springer, with a circulation of about 55,000 items. The magazine is perceived as right-wing and has drawn attention to controversial campaigns, including the legalization of cannabis holdings.
In the last two decades, a wealth of lifestyle and gossip magazines have been started. The largest is Rytmus života with an edition of about 240,000 items. (2012).
The general trend with regard to print media in recent years has been a fall in circulation for daily press and a reduction in the number of titles, while the magazine market has expanded, both in terms of number of titles and circulation.
According to APARENTINGBLOG, the founding of Charles University in 1348 became the beginning of a long flowering period for medieval Czech culture. In Prague and in many parts of the country, there are many magnificent monuments from the times of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.
After 1620, the German influence on culture became evident. Then the Protestant Bohemian-Moorish army was defeated in one of the decisive battles of the Thirty Years War (see Older History). Bohemia and the Moravia, which were part of the Habsburg Empire, were forcibly transferred to Catholicism. Many foreign nobles immigrated and the German forced the Czech as an official language. In connection with the “national rebirth” in the 19th century, a backlash against the Habsburgs’ efforts to research Bohemia and the Moravia, a second cultural boom flourished.
Internationally renowned names from the 19th and early 1900s are composers such as Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček and Bohuslav Martinlav.
The author Jaroslav Hašek (1883–1923) used satire and humor when he created one of literature’s most famous anti-heroes – the brave soldier Svejk. Karel Čapek (1890-1938) warned in his books of the growing fascism. The most important work of the German-speaking Franz Kafkas (1883-1924) is the Process. Notable cultural figures from this era are also the politician and philosopher Tomáš Masaryk and the writers Egon Erwin Kisch and Max Brod.
Cultural life was severely affected during the Nazi occupation of 1939-1945. From 1948 the culture, under the Soviet model, was under the control of the State and Communist Party. Among those who were tolerated, at least in periods, by the communist regime were writer Bohumil Hrabal and poet Jaroslav Seifert.
The cultural elite participated in the struggle for democracy. Many were persecuted and discriminated against after the Soviet-led invasion in 1968. Among those who left the country heard the writer Milan Kundera and the film director Miloš Forman. Within the country, many fiction and scientific works were published as underground samizdat literature. Among those who distinguished themselves were the playwright Václav Havel and the writers Ludvík Vaculík and Ivan Klíma.
Among the new authors that emerged after 1989 are Daniela Hodrová, Jáchym Topol, Radka Denemarková, Kvta Legátová Jan Balabán, Michal Ajvaz, Emil Hakl and Jaroslav Rudiš, all of which are translated into Swedish.
Jiří Menzel, Miloš Forman, František Vláčil and Věra Chytilová made Czech film famous in the 1960s. The new younger directors include Saša Gedeon, Jan Hřebejk, Alice Nellis, Michaela Pavlátová, Bohdan Sláma and Jan Svěrák, whose film Kolya won an Oscar for best foreign film in 1997. An international film festival is held every year in Karlovy Vary.
Czech rock bands like Olympic that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s have seen an upswing in recent years. Another featured group is Tata Bojs. Several festivals with rock and other music genres are held each year in the Czech Republic. The strong legacy of classical music is evident, among other things, through several classical festivals, including the international music festival in Brno, which has been organized since 1966.
The media may operate in fairly free conditions, but for example, reporting on national security issues is prohibited. A cloud of concern is that the media market is now dominated by a small group of domestic business magnates who do not hesitate to use their positions to promote their own political goals.
Journalists working in these media companies often exercise a certain self-censorship. At the same time, there are a number of newspapers devoted to investigative journalism.
Defamation is punishable, but few cases now reach court and those who are sentenced usually receive conditional punishment.
In 2009, a new law came into force that made it illegal to publish information obtained through the police’s telephone interception and information about the bugging itself. The law also meant that it became illegal to publish the names of victims of serious crimes or victims under the age of 18. Since then, the law has been mitigated in several steps. In 2011, an amendment was made that exemptions are made for information that is considered of general interest. However, it is for the courts to decide whether the information is of general interest or not.
In 2017, on the government’s behalf, Center Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats was created, a new center with the task of fighting fake news. According to the government, it was largely about negative information about, for example, immigrants, the EU and NATO, which are spread via websites that are believed to receive support from Russia.
A number of state-owned newspapers were sold in the early 1990s and many of them got foreign owners. Later, several of the companies were taken over by Czech or Slovak billionaires. In 2013, for example, the party bought Anos leader Andrej Babiš, finance minister from 2014 and one of the country’s richest people, the media group Mafra, which includes two of the Czech Republic’s largest newspapers and the popular news site iDnes.cz. He later acquired the radio station Radio Impu ls and the music-TV channel Óčko. In 2017, however, a new law was passed banning ministers from owning media (see Current policy).
Other major owners in the media industry are Daniel Křetínský, who runs the country’s largest energy company and owns the football club AC Sparta Prague, the former mining magnate Zdeněk Bakala and Marek Dospiva from the investment company Penta.
The most influential newspaper is the bourgeois Mladá fronta Dnes. One of the biggest newspapers is the tabloid Blesk, focusing on scandal and celebrity journalism. The former Communist body Právo is now almost social democratic. Other major newspapers are Hospodářské noviny and Lidovné noviny, which is the Czech Republic’s oldest newspaper founded in 1893. There are a number of weekly newspapers, one of which is the English-speaking Prague Post. A number of news magazines are available online, including Echo24.cz, which holds a critical line against Babiš.
The radio and TV offerings have grown rapidly. Most Czechs get their news through the public service company ČT (Česká televize), but there are also several private TV channels, including Nova TV and TV Prima.
In addition to the state radio company Český rozhlas, there are two private radio channels, Frekvence 1 and Rádio Impuls, which reach out throughout the country.
Ether media is regulated by a special council for radio and TV: RRTV. However, the state ČT is under its own authority.
FACTS – MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the internet
81 percent (2018)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100 residents