Dozens of students paid tribute to the memory of Milada HorakováPublished: Jun 26, 2020 Reading time: 3 minutes
On June 27, 2020, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the execution of Milada Horáková by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. This date is recorded in the calendar as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Communist Regime. To mark this significant anniversary, let us pay respect to all victims and active opponents of totalitarianism, to all people who remained committed to democracy and freedom in difficult times.
Milada Horáková and three other “convicts” (Jan Buchal, Záviš Kalandra and Oldřich Pecl) were executed based on constructed trials. It was accompanied by theatrical propaganda campaign in the print media and radio, as usual in the 1950s during “class enemies” show trials.
The Communist Party had a significant influence on most mass media before February 1948. After the February “victory”, communists not only controlled and censored the media, but also directly managed and instructed the Czech media according to the Soviet model. Manipulation of information, lies and intimidation have become proven tools for controlling the society.
During Thursday's Act of Piety, together with dozens of high school students, we remembered Milada Horáková and the propagandistic backdrop of the process in which she was placed in the role of the main defendant. “Several dozen high school students formed an “alley” on Charles Bridge.
People passing through saw portraits and photographs from various periods of Milada Horakova’s life on one side, and the other one presented outputs of the media campaigns connected with the trial, photographs from the courtroom and examples of speeches that manipulated the public.
The lifelong conduct of this hard-working, self-sacrificing and brave woman was thus contrasted with the hateful propaganda machinery that surrounded the process “in the name of the republic and its people.”
This Act of Piety is described by Karel Strachota, the director of One World in Schools program.
You can watch the video from the event here, or on the Facebook page of JSNS.cz.
Stories of injustice in 2020
The memorial service is being held under the banner of the Day of Stories of Injustice, which we have been organizing since 2011. This year we will follow up on the significant 70th anniversary of the execution of Milada Horáková, which we will address also in November, when the 16th year of Film Month in schools will take place. Jana Kánská, daughter of Milada Horáková, has accepted the invitation to Stories of Injustice Award ceremony.
“In 2020, we will focus on media within the Stories of Injustice. We will look at the role of the media, propaganda, censorship or media manipulation in the communist Czechoslovakia. Our goal is to support and increase the media literacy of young people, their abilities and skills to critically distinguish different media messages. By drawing attention to how freedom of speech had been restricted and how the state had controlled its own citizens through censorship and controlled media, we want to stress the essential role of free and independent media,” Karel Strachota adds.