The voices from undeground. Samizdats in the former Czechoslovakia

During the communism period in Czechoslovakia the press faced in many ways censorship and was as in other countries of the former Soviet Union part of a whole system of controlling the communication. As stated by Downing: “The leading reason for the significance of the radical media in this case is that Soviety system particularly relied on its channeling and strict control of communication and media, its use of them as a transmission belt for the party´s view of reality” (Downing, 2000:355). Some of the civil activists however decided to produce an “underground press” instead, called samizdat to circumvent the censorship. Samizdat is a word that comes from Russian language and refers to underground publications either written by hand or typewriter distributed from hand to hand and produced only in limited prints. Mostly the activity of samizdat press was done by civil society, those who produced this kind of press were called dissidents, people who oposed the current regime, expressed their ideas about the regime and were often for their activities punished or imprisoned. Samizdat was common in the region of the former Soviet Union countries under the communism regime.

In the former Czechoslovakia samizdat publications started at the beginning of the 1960´s. The raise of this kind of press started after the suppresion of the Prague Spring in the 1968 and invasion of the Soviet Russian troops to Czechoslovakia. After the suppresion of the liberation, Czechoslovakia was put under the “normalization” process which meant a heavy censorship of the freedom of the press. The Office for printing and information was establish to ensure that information that are in contradiction with the intern and international politics of the state will not be published.

In Slovakia famous “underground press” consisted of Christian religious samizdat publications that tried to express their belief under the communism regime which penalized and followed the church, 1982 is the beginning of the samizdat magazine Náboženstvo a súčasnosť (Religion and present) and other 26 publications of samizdat press, 23 from this were Christian oriented. The prints of one of the samizdat religious publications were around 200 to 2000 pieces, publications were mostly printed in one of the biggest ofset print machines in the capital, Bratislava. In 1987 the religious samizdat reached its peak in Slovakia with the publications 31 požiadaviek moravských katolíkov (31 requirements of Moravian Christians) that wanted to ensure the freedom of religious expression in the former Czechoslovakia.

In Czech republic “underground press” was formed around universities and faculties and produced by students. Most of them differed from the official press in the way they experimented with the content, discussed taboo topics, open debates, critics and published also texts of forbiden authors of that time. One of the “real” samizdats that started at the university but later on went beyond was samizdat Revue 88. It was produced and distributed by students of  the university in Brno, who wrote under their real names and even wrote the adress where their lived, which was unique and courageous. Many of the students were threatened to be kicked out of the universities or imprisoned.

The reason of the rise of the samizdat publications in the former Czechoslovakia was the political situation during the 1970-1980´s under the “normalization” and the refusal of the official ideology of the socialism that was serving the rulling elite and its official culture that was supportive of the regime. The unofficial culture in the form of literature and press deleloped at one hand to samizdat, authors that were producing illegaly, underground from the state and on the other hand exile authors, raising their voices outside of the state. The representatives were often isolated, they and their families and friends intimidated, authors of such pres were forbiden to travel or sometimes even work, they were criminalized and in the public eye presented as enemies of the western agents or deviants. Most of the time they were also under the constant police control. Even thought of all this repressive methods against the “underground press”, samizdat literature and press enabled to enact at that time debates and topics that were completely absent in the public or forbiden. They were the critical minority who stood up against the wrongs of the regime and pointed a finger on the rulling elites.



Čarnoburský J. (2005). Odpor proti komunizmu. Impulz Revue

Downing, J. (2000) Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements. CA: Sage

Posset, J. Česká samizdatová periodika 1968-1989. Brno

Soukopová J. (2010). Zázrak jménem Revue 88 aneb Když samizdat delali studenti.


alternative solutions (week 4-alternative press)

Alternative media may include cinema ,tv movies, advertising campaigns or radio broadcasting channels but when the matter is to encounter with surviving problems , alternative press has as much trouble as others above.Magazine or newspaper , from finding publisher to finding trustable distribution channels , from gaining volunteer talented guys to work with and make them loyal and faithful, from facing with financial-economical problems since denying advertising support as looking for gifts, donations,grants to be able to handle political issues by staying out of mainstream media circle.Being socialist, being communist or being left  focused are some frequent features of alternative press too because it is also kinda against to narcotizing politics of main stream media-press by giving particular things in always in particular shape by ignoring some facts.Anti racism, feminism, gay supoorts, sexual tendencies, minority rights, immigrant problems, lower class situations, minority’s different values, habits, world views or political perspectives are included and considered as vital in alternative press.Alternative press has to find some different distribution channels to give a voice or publisher.Today’s capitalism worl, under the hegemony of mainstream media , it is so hard to find alternative publisher-distribution channels naturally.Most of alternative press magazines-newspaper had pretty short life because without regular serious income and just with some donations, funds,grants or reader’s help you can not survive long.Alternative press is not seeking for commercial-advertising convey to audience-readers but seeking for conveying ideas, ideologies, alternative world views so it became hard to keep living.Alternative press is working also as  community based thing which care too much reader’s opinions, ideas, their letters which are being posted to newspaper or magazine.İt is based on also interactive, horizontal structure that readers can be writers and consumers also become producers when they give ideas, offers to magazine for example.In England under the roof of socialist movement idea the Red Pepper magazine was a good example to show how hard to survive as being alternative press.Red Pepper had faced many financial,economical political problems during its life but ın everytime when it falls down , it succeded to come back as being much more powerful, experienced because the workers did market reasearch, surveys, reader researches, following expectations and by settle the balance between taking advertising-commercial stuff and spreading alternative informations,ideologies or putting good balance among political tendencies ,election terms, and showing themselves much more bigger than really they are to create big voice by the name of labor part, socialist movement , standing against exploiting mainstream press -capitalist ideology.Today in 2000’s we have still many alternative press-magazines-newspapers,texts and so on but still without ignoring advertising, commercial stuff and without taking particular political support-govermental support or regular serious financial income it is so hard to survive or reach bigger environment.One side we may see proffesional workers but on the other hand they have maybe non proffesional but full of passion, loyalty, volunteer, dedicated guys in alternative press so this fact can create a bit better balance among them.Alternative press is carrying the motto on even its name so it could always find alternative ways to make their voice heard and reach particular community in creative ways.


Community Radio

Radio has been important role on the communication tools. Today it do not prefer as much as at the past. But it does not lost its important. Because it is cheap and get easy . So that we still use radio. With television , radio lost their important but it does not lost. When we talk the radio broadcasting, we diveded it three categorises. Public service broadcatsing, private- commercial broadcasting and community bradcasting. Public-service broadcasting controllled by authourity. Second one controlled by individual and they getting money fromm advertising. Third one is controoled by small community. Community broadcasting aims serve the broadcast benefit of the people . Community radio defined as a “ “community” has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location”. (Wikipedia) They are non-profit . We can give example local radio. In there we can heart local news and problems . And they make advertising . When we listen the local radio  we can take information about our city. We can see it on University, companies,etc.

Radio Has Adopted to New Technologies

Radio as a tool of mainstream media. However by developing of alternative media, radio has started to follow to an alternavie way. Besides some alternative radio programs, radio could find place on alternavite media. We can easily search a lot of radio stations on internet.
On the other hand we can easily see that a lot of radio programs has facebook and twitter acounts, that shows us, even radio emerged before TV, finding place in alternative media it has adopted to modern times. When we listen a radio programs, dj always says that “you can post your comment on our twitter and facebook account” or “please follow us from twitter”.
In fact by these stuation, we can see the indispensable of mainstream media and adopting of these mainstream media tools with new technologies.
The other issue is that thanks to devoloping alternative media, people can create thier own radio stations. That gives more opportunities to people especially, new communication graduates. Because especcialy in Turkey, it is very hard to find a job in terms of media sector. Therefore by alternative media, people have gained chance to create their own jobs on internet.
In conclucion, we can see that alternative media does not destroy mainstream media, conversely, it keeps alive and develops that. Especially radio. Although radio is still listened today without alternative media, thaks to internet, people can find more oppotunuties to listen and create radio programs.




The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as to transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him. (Brecht, 1932)


In its original form, before the advent of television, radio was the primary media, the device which gathers the whole family who follow the program with undivided attention. Further development of the radio and intersect with new technologies has the complexity of its functionality, allowing portability, specialty programs, the opportunity to interact … New features and new possibilities of radio imposed the issue of how will radio listeners refer to the program in the future, when it, where, how and how much they will  consume it. Digital technologies contributing to increasing the number of hours which listeners devote to radio programs as a whole.

The fact that the radio program is available through the new platform, contributes to increasing the number of situations in which it can be consumed – the fact that we will be able to hear our favorite radio station program each time when we are online, or we will be able to listen radio on iPod during the shopping, expands the number of possibilities for the consumption of radio as a medium. By increasing the number of situations in which the radio program can be heard, as well as the increasing number of activities that people can do while listening to the radio, increases survive in the new media environment.

The convergence of radio and the internet has created a space to further satisfy the needs of young people, whose habits are diametrically opposed to the habits of older generations of radio listeners. The convergence of radio and the internet does not only create a new generation of media users, it creates a new generation of listeners of radio, but the radio rich dimensions that provide a new technology – interactivity, visual, speed, availability, the possibility of manipulating content.

Practice of new and converged media in fact is the perfect answer to Brecht objections  to the traditional radio – radio crossbred with the Internet is used as a two-way communication channel. Censorship and editorial control are not anymore fatal disabling to the individual who wants to offer his version of the events, his angle, his position and share it with a mass audience – with other users of the same network. The audience as a subject and as an object, were become one with interchangeable places, with common functions. Each user has their own interpretation of the truth.

The convergence of traditional media and new technologies, in particular analog radio and internet radio, redefine existing features, changing habits and expectations of traditional radio audiences, creating new opportunities for listeners and advertisers, changing radio environment, developing a national public sphere in transnational and global.

That what internet radio brings is the new way of using the old media content.





Radio can be considered as one of the most powerful and easiest way of alternative media, because make a radio station is something “easy” to do,you don´t need a big area to do it, and it is easy to hide in the case that is forbidden to communicate the information that you want to broadcast, on the other way, we can find  a radio player almost everywhere in the world, so this information is going to arrive to all the levels of the population.

In the article that i have read, they say that the community radio is the perfect alternative media to develop the rural areas, and that it has been using during the years in most part of South America.

There are two nongovernmental associations  called (AMARC) and (ALER) that are taking care of the democratization of the media, trying to make legal all the community radios, and fighting for the free expression, even during the dictators. The other purpose of this associations  is literates people in rural areas.



Community Radio as a means of Communication

Radio broadcasting can be divided into 3 categories. These are; public-service broadcasting, commercial/private broadcasting and community broadcasting. The first is usually a state supported and controlled by an authority. The second one is usually owned and controlled by an individual and advertising have a highly important place in these broadcasts as they make much of their money from advertisings. The third one, which is the community radio/broadcasting, is usually owned and controlled by small communities. Generally their aim is to provide help for the public and they aim to serve benefit for the communities where they broadcast. Community can be defined as a group of people who share common characteristics and interests. So a possible definition for the community radio can be “a radio station which is characterized by its ownership and programming and the community it is authorized to serve. It is owned and controlled by a non-profit organization whose structure provides for membership, management, operation and programming primarily by members of the community at large. Its programming should be based on community access and participation and should reflect the special interests and needs of the listenership it is licensed to serve.”

As an example for the community radio broadcasting I can give the local radio stations which I listen while I drive from one city to another. For example if you drive from Izmir to Ankara there are many small cities and towns you pass through. And you have a chance to listen their local radio channels. In most of them the radio stations you listen in the big cities do not have sufficient signal thus you have to listen their local radio stations. The most obvious difference I’ve realized in these local broadcasts is the advertisings. They just advertise their local products such the local clothing or food brands or the local restaurants and cafes. You hardly ever come across with a big or a famous brand. Sometimes unlike the other public and private broadcasts they organize some competitions and if there is a concert or a show in their city they give free tickets for them. The reason I said unlike the public and private broadcast is that, in the competitions they make, they only give free tickets or free invitation cards just in big cities like Istanbul or Ankara. But in the community radios this situation is different. Of course I do not mean the community radios in the big cities but in the small cities or towns.

Another aspect of community radios is, they usually work for to announce their audience voice to the public. If a city, a town, a district or even a school have some problems they can help them by giving the floor to the audience and make them to announce their problems. Thus they have a chance to change something and a mass of people can realize the problems after these broadcasts. For example in a university, the students utter their problems about the school administration, lessons, or foods through their community radios.

Reference: Fraser, C. & Estrada, S. R. (2001). Community Radio Handbook; Community Radio in the Broadcasting Scene. UNESCO.



In our life, there are coomunication tools which encircle our life. There are different characteristics than one another and radio is one of the tool which people use it in their daily life because it is portable and it doesn’t resembla other communication tool like Tv. Yes, we don’t see people who speak, who sing a song but we establish relations thorough voices. We imagine that for example when Dj talks about an issue. Maybe every people don’t listen radio everyday but for example, in car, in public transformation, in shopping center, in our telephone that we have chance to listen and have possibility to encourage with it. In addition to all of them, listeners who connect attachment with Dj and some programs which are regulated by radio stations. My observation is that as  people who connect radio stations or connect some radio programs to talk more than the other communication tools because I think that people feel themselves good because they have chance to share their opinions, their memories, their favorite musics to hook.

I give some informations about history of radio in Turkey. In Turkey, first radio broadcasting began in 1927 after one or two years which radio broadcasting started in the world. How it started to establish is that with building enterprise.These enterprises were called Türkiye İş Bankası and Anadolu Ajansı.  Its working method is same with BBC and today their working style continue in the same way.  ( These informations are taken from this link: ) In 1949, there was two radio transmitters in Turkey. In 1949 November, Istanbul radio station begun to broadcasting. Also, ITÜ which started its broadcasting in 1946. (These informations are taken from this link

In this link which shows that  the first radio broadcasting in Turkey in 6 May 1927 . It was at the same time spoken in French language. (

Now, I give short informations about weeks article. One of them is Community Radio which is written by Peterç M. Lewis. This article is about Montreal Conference and what this article was penetrated that how community radio emerged and which time it holded a place in our life in some countries. Pacifia Foundation was one of the first moment of community radio and community radio which is referred as reaction to the radio of its own country in this article. Also, language of community radio is different from offical one. There are some countries which are examined in terms of community radio. One of them is Kenya.  Homa Bay who managed and take into account develop communication infrastructure according to local people and their needs. On the other hand, in Bologna, Radio Alice which is use of live telephoned reports from listeners. The example of community radio is also feminist radio which hugely relate with women’s lifestyle so according to these article I have chance to see that how community radio was developed all over the world, how it hold a place in people life and continue its works in todays life.

The other article which also penetrates Community Radio at the beginning of the 21 century. It starts with the Community Radio in US. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and National Telecommunication Information Act ( NTIA) which put mechanisms for standardisation of stations. In this article, I see that community radio didn’t emerge coincidentally because there were some events like Baby Boomer, Reagan years and also there are some minority groups effect to shape community radio. What these minorities are African American, Hispanic, and Native Americans. In Western Europe, BBC model is applied and the important thing is that establishment of community radio in 1970s and 1980s. Also, in this article, Community Radio in 1974 and Community Public Radio in 1999 were investigated under some criteria in terms of governance, origination, format, funding, audience and identity. According to these table, undoubtedly, differences are seen and meanings, functions of them change also with effecting of commercial radio.

If I evaluate todays condition behalf of radio, with the improvement of technology, which effects expanding broadcasting network, which means that wherever we live, we stand, we have chance to reach radio which doesn’t only means we listen radio but also radio stations which have agenda and set some programs, ıt has news programmes and call some people like academician, like singer, like psychologist, like actors to talk about every issue to give knowledges to people who listen them. In addition to them, radio stations which address not only big cities but also local people. Yes, some of them establish and reach all parts of the Turkey like PowerTürk, Kral Fm, Trt Fm but on the other side some radio stations which are established in specific borders and don’t address whole Turkish people. For example; Radyo Ege which addresses to people who live in Aegean area;  Radyo Mercan, Radyo Akdeniz which addresses to people who live in Antalya;  Radyo 5, Radyo Bursa which addresses to people who live in Bursa. There are many examples of these radio stations from all parts of Turkey. (I learn some of these radio stations from this link. Their common characteristic is that regulate their program contents according to local people. In addition, we listen radio everywhere but with entering Internet to our life we listen radio thorough online. We have chance to comment through their social media account. For my opinion, radio is special communication tool,  even if we don’t see people who speak or sing a song , we imagine and this characteristic of radio is depart itself from other communication tool and I think that people who establish cosy relationship with speaker, Dj or other person.

In conclusion, radio which was long history in our life, it was so crucial communication tool in the past before television and technology was  enter to our lifes but today maybe its number of target audience decrease according to my observation because people have fast life, they use mobile phones for communication and it substitudes and manipulates our communication style, communication processes and also communication vehicles are effected so many people who don’t prefer listening radio in their daily life and because of this reason radio loses its importance but for my opinion radio provides people to talk more , share their ideas with other people who don’t see, don’t react or don’t answer to them, maybe this characteristic effect peoples preference to not listen radio but for my opinion attachment with radio is so special for followers or listeners of radio than other communication tools.

Community Radio as a means of Communication

It will be a deepening discussion while focusing on communication’s reasons. “Whats” of communication and “Hows” of communication replaced to reasons(“why”) of communication. In this case, most of the scholars mention that those reasons quite related to the identification process of the audiences. In other words, a need of defining themselves in the current society and their own communities encourage people to be part of several communication paterns in order to express themselves.

Alternative media provides wider opportunites for people to express themselves rather than mainstream media. For instance, Radio Popolare made interviews with the local people in Milan in May 1977 during and after the riot. An interpretation of what happened takes shape from the contributions of the different people involved. Each person is asked for their political analysis…So, things happen during the day on the streets and are discussed at night on the radio.(Lewis, 1984)

Algan examines social role of the local radio in Sanliurfa, which is located in the poor rural south-eastern part of Turkey, for Turkish youth.She focuses on why the local commercial radio stations in Sanliurfa functions as alternative media for the Turkish youth and how they cross and transform the boundary between the ‘media’ and‘ordinary’ worlds to create a space for themselves.(Algan, 2005)  She argues that in traditional Turkish culture, unmarried young people have very littlesay in issues that matter to them and have no power over their education, jobs or marriage decisions. Respect for elders requires that a young person must not even talk back to his/her father. However, talk radio offers them much needed liberation by functioning as a discursive space in which tocriticize societal norms without the surveillance of the dominant group,families and their fathers.(Algan, 2005)

Expression is what we do in daily life. We express ourselves to everyone we engage during the day via language, our clothes, our facial expressions, our gestures and etc. While we express ourselves, we also express the elements that compose our identity. In other words, when we have need to express our thoughts we also have a need to express certain/varied elements from our identity.



Lewis, P. (1984) “Community Radio: The Montreal Conference and after”, in Media, Culture and Society, vol. 6, pp. 137-150.

Algan, E.(2005) “The role of Turkish local radio in theconstruction of a youth community”, in The Radio Journal – International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media Vol.6 Number 2, pp. 75-92

Radio Favela – indispensable community radio

An interesting story coming from a small poor town named Aglomerado da Serra in Belo Horizonte in Brazil where a group of young black men in the beginning of 1980’s with the help of money given by one of boy’s mother to establish rather primitive radio station with a poor infrastructure. They named it FAVELA, which actually is a name for a slum, poor places filled with violence, drug dealing, murders etc. their aim was to connect people from the slum, to fight against violence and to stop drug dealing.

Furthermore, radio station turned out to become indispensable tool for the community that fought against poverty, severe electrical cuts, no running water and more. Favela radio station became a medium helping to locate missing children, calling ambulances for the injured and ill, locating the families, giving information for important issues. Even hospitals were sending the information about the victims of the accidents and attacks because they were not able to reach the family members other way.

Naturally, Radio Favela as a pirate radio station underwent many repression and attacks from the government police. One of Radio Favela’s founder Misael Avellino des Santos was arrested seven times, beaten and torture by a police. The police twice completely destroyed the radio station and even tried to connect the founders of the radio to a drug dealings and murders. After each collision, Radio Favela came back, mostly with the money collected from the local community, and the fight for radio’s existence continued for the next 23 years.

But why was the local government so intimidated by a rudimental radio station in one of many Brazilian favelas hiding up in the mountains? What was so powerful about the Favela Radio station that many saw it as a threat?

Radio Favela I think it’s a wonderful example of a community radio, young black boys started up a radio station that filled in so very necessary connection and help to the poor society they came from. That is exactly where the Brazilian government failed. Radio Favela was established with a rather modest financial input, yet because of its location up in the mountains it was accessible to variety of societies in a nearby cities, it soon became very popular among poor and also middle class. Favela was completely autonomous,   if anything government police was for years strongly opposing the Radio station and its founders. Furthermore, Radio Favela’s one and only main goal was to serve the community, being a voice, a medium of this community and therefore had no profit in goal intentionsListeners were not only supporters they were in a way Radio Favela, if they needed an ambulance they called the radio, if they wanted to talk to their friends and family, they called the radio, Radio Favela accepted over 500 calls all without censorship, calling to the Radio Favela meant connecting directly to the entire community.  Local music, local artists and community issues had always  the on air privilege before the national or international news. Radio Favela went even further, they hosted educational programs informing people about the cancer, their civil rights, women were informed about their rights against domestic violence, health, voting etc. in sum, Radio Favela gave their community more than the government education, police and media ever did. Because of all that, Radio Favela is a golden example of a community radio that no matter how many times it was shut down, destroyed, people suffering…it always came back, because it was so greatly needed by the favela’s community, people’s identity and their sense of belonging and gratefulness that someone did care about them and their existence.

Constant struggle, all the good the Radio Favela’s establishers  didn’t go unrecognized. After 20 years of day to day struggle Radio Favela got national and international attention. In February 1999 it was a cover story on Wall Street Journal, in 1998 it was the only Brazilian radio invited to the prestige Congress of Community Radios in Milan (Italy),  finally in 2001 it got a government permission, and the movie was shot in 2003 with the title Uma onda no ar ( A wave in the air).

Radio continues to exist today, it is more popular than ever, having nearly 4 million listeners, it has proved to itself and to the world that representing the community with no matter how modest means you may have as long as it is accessible to others, as long as context serves the listeners and as long as it connects and gives life to the community around it, a great changes can be made, the good will not go unrecognized.