In the early years of Radio Free Europe, the U.S. station – although initially founded and largely secretly funded by the CIA – played a critical role in providing balanced, objective news to listeners in the Eastern Bloc, especially during turbulent periods of history. Having failed to live up its own standards when covering the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, RFE took a radically different approach to its coverage of the Prague Spring and Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, says former RFE director A. Ross Johnson.
Czech Radio is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year. The Czech national radio broadcaster has come a long way since its pioneering days. Today it is the biggest radio broadcaster in the country with 9 channels, manned not only by its Prague staff but 14 regional branches providing news and reports from around the country. The station’s buildings are also an important part of its history. On the occasion of Czech Radio’s 95th anniversary we have prepared a photo gallery of its buildings, some of them valuable architectural landmarks.
Czech Radio’s Prague headquarters was very much the focal point for the Prague uprising against Nazi rule at the end of WWII. And today’s top state personalities assembled on Friday outside the radio building to pay homage to the hundreds who fell at the barricades in Prague and in scattered skirmishes across the country.
Czech leaders marked the 72nd anniversary of the Prague Uprising at the Czech Radio building on Friday, a focal point of the uprising in which Czechs took up arms against the Nazis. The radio station itself became a beacon for resistance when the call went out in a broadcast for the rising to start and for citizens to come and help defend the radio building against German attempts to retake it. Among those attending Friday’s memorial event were the heads of both Czech house of parliament, Milan Štěch and Jan Hamáček, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová.
Monday, October 3, marks the 90th anniversary of Europe’s first live coverage of a sporting event: a football match between Slavia Prague and Hungaria Budapest in 1926. Radiožurnál’s Josef Laufer, who went on to become a broadcasting legend, provided live commentary of the match, a stroke of luck for the reporter after the original candidate to call the match failed to show up. Radiožurnál edged the BBC by several months in its live broadcast of a sporting event, Czech Radio said.
In this, the last programme in our series to mark Radio Prague’s 80th birthday, we travel eastwards looking at links between India and Czechoslovakia both before and after the Second World War as captured in our archives. In the 1920s and 30s cultural links were strong, despite the huge differences and distance between the two countries, and many of these links survived even in the time of the Cold War. David Vaughan has more.
During the EU referendum debate in Britain the presence of so-called “migrant” workers from Central and Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic, was one of the central topics. But we heard rather less about the tens of thousands of Czechs, Slovaks and, above all, Poles, who came to Britain nearly eighty years ago during World War II. In today’s language they might also be categorized as migrants, quite possibly illegal migrants, given the many complex paths that led them to Britain. They came to fight in the British armed forces and their contribution