Newspapers in Czech Republic
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Latest population statistics of Czech Republic, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
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
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
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
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
Defamation is punishable, but few cases now reach
court and those who are sentenced usually receive
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
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
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
FACTS - MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the
81 percent (2018)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100