This article is part of the article Czechoslovakia.

Table of contents
1 Control
2 Newspapers
3 TV and radio


As in all East European communist countries, the mass media in Czechoslovakia was controlled by the Communist party (KSC). Private ownership of any publication or agency of the mass media was generally forbidden, although churches and other organizations published small periodicals and newspapers. Even with this informational monopoly in the hands of organizations under KSC control, all publications were reviewed by the government's Office for Press and Information. Censorship was lifted for three months during the 1968 Prague Spring but afterward was reimposed under the terms of the 1966 Press Law. The law states that the Czechoslovak press is to provide complete information, but it must also advance the interests of socialist society and promote the people's socialist awareness of the policy of the communist party as the leading force in society and state.

Government concern about control of the mass media was such that it is illegal to own a duplicating machine or to reproduce more than eleven copies of any printed material. Nevertheless, a fairly wide distribution of underground publications (popularly known as samizdat throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union) that were established during the Nazi occupation continued throughout communist rule into the 1980s.


The Czechoslovak Press Agency (in Czech: Československá tisková kancelář, in Slovak: Československá tlačová kancelária ČTK / CTK) received a state subsidy and was controlled by the federal government through its Presidium.

TV and radio

The government also controled several domestic television and radio networks.

The Czechoslovak Television started broadcasting in 1953 from Prague, in 1955 from Ostrava and in 1956 from Bratislava. Daily broadcasting started in 1959, broadcasting in color in 1970 from Bratislava. A second TV channel was added in 1970. Since then, the first TV channel was concieved as a federal one (i. e. mostly in Czech, but also in Slovak), the second TV channel was different for the Czech Socialist Republic (in Czech) and for the Slovak Socialist Republic (in Slovak). A third TV channel has been added only in the late 1980s. It showed the main TV channel of the Soviet Union TV.

In addition, many citizens in Czechoslovakia have been able to pick up foreign radio and television stations (terrestrially and in late 1980s over satellite). TV stations, for example, could be picked up both from the communist Poland, Hungary and the German Democratic Republic, and from the noncommunist countries Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). The relatively attractive TV programme from Austria and West Germany had a sizable influence on the population. TV has not been jammed by the authorities. The radio station Voice of America and the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) also have had some audiences in Czechoslovakia, and their broadcasts have been subject to only occasional jamming. Radio Free Europe broadcasts, however, were extensively jammed.