Created: 9/1/1968

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Intelligence Memorandum

Broadcasting in the Czechoslovak Crisis

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Copy No.20


CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence8

Broadcasting in the Czechoslovak Crisis


ew hours of the movement of Soviet and other Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia onree Czechoslovakia radio network began to broadcast news of the occupation to home and international audiences. Some studios and transmitters were seized, but efforts to silence the network were unsuccessful. The Czechstumporary studios and apparently continued to use some of the high-power transmitters of the regular network until Dubcek's return from Moscow. During this time, jamming efforts mounted by the Soviet Union against Free Czechoslovakia and western broadcasts were unsuccessful in blocking out news of the occupation in either Czechoslovakia or the USSR. The failure of the Soviet Union to deal quickly and decisively with Free Czechoslovakia broadcasts suggests that Soviet planners were counting on prompt formationooperative Czech government and had failed to work out detailed contingency plans.

Note: This memorandum was produced solely by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Economic Research and was coordinated with the Office of Current Intelligence and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.


Czechoslovak Radio and Television

has one of the mostradio and television broadcastingin the Communist world. Thenetwork transmits programs oneception base of at least foursetsore than one set per household,comparable to that of West Europeanaboutercent of the radio setsare designed for multiple bandwhich, together withlocation, enables its citizens tobroadcasts from all directions. same time, Czechoslovakia originates morehours por week of international broadcastslanguages. In the field of television,ia nationwide, and there are abouttelevision sets in use.

Emergence of Radio Free Czechoslovakia

a few hours of the movement ofother Warsaw Pact troops into theirradio workers began broadcasting news ofboth to their own countrymen and toaudiences. Prague TV showed Soviettha city, and this program wasWestern Europe by connection withleast three Radio Free Czechoslovakiaon the air in the early hours of theand an emergency radio network,began to take form shortly Byugust, Radio Free Czechoslovakia

was transmitting regularly on long-wave edium-wavend short-wave (SW) to the Czech people and was beaming international broadcasts in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian. These broadcasts kept the Czech people and the world apprised of occupation developments, warned the populace against active resistance, andrime mover in organizing passive resistance, including several brief general strikes.

regular program studios werethe occupation troops, the Czechs beganradio programs in clandestine studios private dwellings and mobile vans). Regional


programs from at leastifferent locations in Czechoslovakia were broadcast over the national network. This network arrangement continued untilugust, whon Free Czechoslovakia stations began to go off the air following the Moscow agreement and Dubcek's address to the Czech people. At least some TV transmissions were continued throughoutugust period, but broadcastingare not clear.

4. The clandestine broadcasts were remarkable not only because of their volume and survival but also because they apparently emanated from high-powered transmitters, such as are found only in the regular national network. The main evidence that high-powered transmitters were employed is the fact that most of the broadcasts could be monitored on frequencies normally used by the Czechoslovaks and heard clearly at points quite remote from Czechoslovakia.


principal means of feeding into high-powered transmittersover the mainline communications networkor microwave radio relay lines). Anmethod could have been the use offor local broadcasts which wereover the national network by thetransmitters. This procedure maypress reports that clandestine radio from small transmitters that skippedto frequency.

The Soviet Response

an initial period of confusionpart, Soviet troops occupied regularprogram studios and seized ortransmitters. But they were unable toclandestine broadcasts. The failure tobroadcasts is an indication that thecounting on prompt formation of agovernment and had failed to workcontingency plans. The Soviethave known the exact location of allCzechoslovak transmitters and couldfailed to understand the importance ofthem. Yet Soviet military unit commanders

apparently were not provided with completeon tranamitter locations or with clear instructions to occupy them.

7. Poor Soviet planning is also apparent in the ineffectiveness of Soviet efforts to counter Free Czechoslovakia radio and TV broadcasts. The Soviets employed some of the transmitters they had seized to relay Radio Moscow programs in the Czech and Slovak languages. (As early as, Radio Moscow had more than doubled its direct broadcasts in Czech and Slovak.) In addition, the Soviets established several new broadcasts, probably from transmitters located in Poland and East Germany, to beam pro-Soviet programs to Czechoslovakia.

B. The Soviets initiated jamming against the Free Czechoslovakia radiocasts in tha early days of the occupation. This effort consisted largely of broadcasting Radio Mayak on the same frequencies as those used by the Free Czechoslovakia {Mayak, the USSR's second nationalis similarS music and newshis type of jamming, andesser extentnoise jamming, also was employed within the USSR to overlay Czechoslovak broadcasts and those of the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and Radio Liberty. The effectiveness of the Soviet jamming effort in Czechoslovakia and in the USSR was spotty. In both the USSR and Czechoslovakia, Western and Free Czechoslovakia broadcasts on some frequencies were effectively blocked, but others came through clearly. Listeners in Czechoslovakia and the USSR who wanted Free Czechoslovakia and Western news about the occupation were able to find it.

9. The Soviet jamming effort apparentlyfrom the lack of prior planning and Jamming of Western broadcastsegular practice was discontinued by the USSRnd Eastern European countries, with the exception cf Bulgaria, subsequently followed suit. TheSoviet network of noise jammers probably has been largely disbanded, and many of the transmitters probably have been converted to conventionaluse.

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