December 16, 1893: First issue of Lidové noviny published

First issue of Lidové noviny

The Čapek brothers, Karel Poláček, and Ferdinand Peroutka – these were just some of the prominent contributors to Lidové noviny, a leading Czech daily in interwar Czechoslovakia.

Karel and Josef Čapek | Photo: archive of Karel Čapek Memorial

The first issue of Lidové noviny came out in the Moravian city of Brno 120 years ago, on December 16, 1893. Like other newspapers of the time, it had a morning and evening edition. By mid-1920, a branch editorial office was established in Prague, making the local daily one of the country’s most influential newspapers.

Photo: Pavel Janoušek and collective,  'History of Czech literature in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia'/Academia
Samizdat Lidové noviny,  May 1989  | Photo: Moderní dějiny

Lidové noviny profiled itself as a liberal paper for middle-class intellectuals. Among its contributors were presidents T. G. Masaryk and Edvard Beneš, who usually published their articles under pseudonyms. It was also the first newspaper in the country to publish political cartoons.

After the Communist coup, Lidové noviny was heavily censored and in 1952 it was forced to close, having lost most of its readership. In 1988, a year before the Velvet Revolution, a group of dissidents re-launched the famous daily as a samizdat monthly. After the fall of communism, it successfully transformed into a daily, which is published to this day.

Photo: Martin Vaniš,  Radio Prague International