“I request issuing of an absolute ban.” Foreign Press Department of the Czechoslovak Federal Ministry of the Interior

Adam Havlík

The paper deals with the topic of one particular department of the Czechoslovak Federal Ministry of Interior (FMV), which was in charge of the control over the foreign press in the 1970s and 1980s. This included foreign magazines, officially ordered by the Czechoslovak state but also individually imported press or books. The foreign press and the dissemination of the information contained in it posed a potential risk to the ruling Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSČ), and therefore its import was subject to a relatively strict control. As part of the State Security (StB), the so‑called Foreign Press Department (OZT) supervised printed matter imported into the country. Among other things, his employees worked undercover at post offices, where they inspected packages with foreign magazines and books and removed „suspicious“ titles from circulation. They thus participated in censoring and directing the flow of information so that it was in line with the Communist Party’s ideas. The study focuses on the mechanisms on which the everyday work of the department was based. At the same time, it follows the personnel and the social profile of those who participated in its operation.

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