Britské listy

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Britské listy
Frequency Daily
First issue 1996 (1996)
Country Czech Republic, United Kingdom
Based in Prague, Glasgow
Language Czech
ISSN 1213-1792

Britské listy is a Czech-language cultural and political internet daily. It is published by a reader-financed NGO Britske Listy o.s. (Czech: Občanské sdružení Britské listy, OSBL, Britské listy Public Association) based in Prague.

The website was founded in July 1996 by Dr. Jan Čulík, Senior Lecturer in Czech Studies at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. From its inception, the website argued that the purpose of its journalism is to introduce ideas from the outside world into a fairly enclosed, circular, Czech-language dependent political and cultural discourse within the Czech Republic. The main purpose of Britské listy has been to cast doubt on ingrained stereotypes, often circulating uncritically within the Czech Republic. All information published is systematically and meticulously sourced.

Britské listy is one of the numerous Knowledge Exchange projects, produced by Glasgow University, United Kingdom.


Some of the main issues covered since 1996 have included:

- Globalisation (The Nation State is withering—based on a BBC series by Simon Hoggart, Britské listy 13–14 November 1996)

- The Information Era and Human Consciousness (what changes are required of people for economic reasons in the new information era? Britské listy 31 July 1997)

- illegal manipulation of Czech commercial "Nova TV" ownership by its chief executive Vladimír Železný - Britské listy from 19 December 1996)

- Censorship in the US-run Czech Service of Radio Free Europe (Britské listy from 1 November 1996)

- Criticism of Václav Klaus's controversial "voucher privatisation" (Britské listy from 25 November 1996)

- Czech media content analysis (Britské listy from 21 May 1999)

- Václav Havel's broken promise to Alexander Dubček to support his presidential candidature; John Keane's critical analysis of Havel's transformation from a human rights campaigner to a pragmatic politician (Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts) (Britské listy, from 14 October 1999)

- systematic ongoing analysis of the long term (1998-2001) crisis in public service Czech Television, which led to a rebellion of its employees at Christmas 2000. (Britské listy from 18 January 1998) During the Christmas 2000 Czech TV rebellion.

- Czech police brutality against the demonstrators during the Prague IMF/World Bank meeting, September 2000, in cooperation with the legal experts of the Civic Legal Observers (Britské listy from 27 September 2000) -- not until August 2005, after a similarly brutal Czech police action against a large "techno music" party did Czech media commentators admit that police action against international demonstrators in Prague in September 2000 was equally illegal and brutal

personal data protection and transgressions against its principles during the 2001 Census in the Czech Republic (Britské listy from February 2001) - fierce social and political oppression of the Roma minority in the Czech Republic (Britské listy from July 2003)

- publishing recordings of internal debates of the Executive Committee of the ruling Czech Social Democratic Party, after it had abolished the previous principle of openness and started to meet in secret. The recordings were widely quoted from Britské listy on Czech TV and in newspapers, summer 2004

- British racism towards Czech Roma asylum applicants. To quote the British Guardian newspaper of 30 July 2001:

"Internal documents obtained by Britske Listy, a Prague-based investigative website, show that the Czech foreign ministry held secret negotiations with the British government on how to prevent Roma from travelling to the UK because they were disrupting otherwise excellent Czech-British relations."

- US attempts to site its biggest missile defence bases in Eastern Europe. To quote the Guardian newspaper of 13 July 2004:

"The talks are at the exploratory stage and no decisions have been taken, officials stressed. US officials played down talk of central European participation in the missile shield. But the confidential nature of the negotiations, being led on the US side by John Bolton, the hardline under-secretary of state for arms control, has angered senior defence officials in the region, who have been kept in the dark. Milos Titz, deputy chairman of the Czech parliament's defence and security committee, learned of the talks last week and immediately called the defence minister, Miroslav Kostelka, to demand an explanation. According to the Czech web newspaper, Britske Listy, Mr Kostelka conceded to Mr Titz that the talks were going ahead and promised to supply details to the committee this week.

- (many other instances, of freedom of speech defence passim) In January 2002, the US Helsinki Committee listed Britské listy as one of the sources of its official report on the current state of human rights in the Czech Republic

- independent information on the 9/11 WTC attacks, war on Afghanistan and Iraq. Czech media have taken an uncritically pro-US government line. Britské listy published European views and alternative American views.

- Michael Moore and his satirical films about the US, culminating with Fahrenheit 9/11 (Britské listy from 3 February 2003; Czech media started writing about Michael Moore only Fahrenheit 9/11 won the main prize in Cannes in May 2004)

- the neoconservative Project for the new American Century (Britské listy from 24 February 2003); (Czech daily newspaper MFD mentioned this project, once, in a single line on 28 July 2005)

- British documentarist Adam Curtis and his analyses of salient developments throughout the twentieth century, the BBC series The Century of the Self (Britské listy from 10 April 2002) and The Power of Nightmares (which outlines disturbing parallels between US neoconservatives and Islamic extremists), (Britské listy from 18 October 2004)

- Britské listy has also systematically debated the accession of the Czech Republic into the European Union, the issues surrounding the European Constitution, issues of Czech nationalism, xenophobia and racism.

- Most recently, Britské listy has provided a detailed analysis of Russian expansionist politics towards its neighbours, especially in Ukraine, and in 2015 it has been trying to counter a wave of anti-Islamist and anti-refugee attitudes.

- From April 2015, in cooperation with Regionální, a Czech cable TV station, Britské listy broadcasts weekly fifteen-minute Britské listy interviews on topical political and cultural issues.


Britské listy has published four book selection of its articles Jak Češi myslí (The Way Czechs Think), Chomutov: Millenium Publishing, 1999 and Jak Češi jednají (The Way Czechs Act), Chomutov: Millenium Publishing 2000, (with Tomáš Pecina) V hlavních zprávách: Televise. (On the Main News: Television), Prague: ISV, 2001 and Jak Češi bojují (The Way Czechs Fight), Prague, Libri, 2003.

Britske listy quoted in the Guardian newspaper[edit]

Raekha Prasad, Airport colour bar

George Monbiot, The Taliban of the West

Ian Traynor, US in talks over biggest missile defence site in Europe


Poll of the readership conducted in 2007 showed readership with a disproportionately high representation of urban men with higher education and high income.[1][2]


  1. ^ "Deník vzdělaného a bohatého bolševika". 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  2. ^ "2007 reader poll results". 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 

External links[edit]