The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 2/Convention of Slav journalists in Prague
CONVENTION OF SLAV JOURNALISTS IN PRAGUE.
In connection with the congress of Slav and Latin representatives in Prague held on May 14th to 17th upon the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Bohemian National Theatre, there was held in the capital city of Bohemia a convention of Czechoslovak, Polish and Jugoslav journalists. The first act of the convention consisted in taking a solemn pledge, which reads as follows:
Among the reports made to the convention, the most interesting was the one by Dr. Antonin Hajn, on the Imperial Royal Correspondence Bureau. He said that the business of gathering news and disseminating it by telegraph was in Austria subject to a license and that the state had granted only one license, namely to itself. The Vienna Correspondence Bureau is as much a state monopoly as the sale of tobacco. That fact in itself indicates its real character and value. It enables the government to govern the public opinion within the state and exert an influence on foreign opinion. It twists news, emasculates them and even suppresses what it does not like, but it has exceeded all former records during this war. The bureau is a weapon of war by means of which the government creates an artificial mist of words and conceals by it the real condition of the Empire, both before the world and before its peoples. It is nothing but one of the means of the internal offensive of the German-Magyar system against the aspirations for freedom of the oppressed nations of the monarchy.
The resolutions adopted by the convention of journalists have been badly mutilated by the censor. From the incomplete account published in the Czech papers only this much can be cited: The resolutions condemn the unheard of persecutions of all Slav press, making impossible a free expression of opinion, compelling newspapers to publish official copy as if it were editorial matter, and punishing refractory editors with jail or with service in the army. A protest is made also against the discrimination by which German papers are assured of a supply of paper while the Slav newspapers are unable to obtain the necessary supplies and are threatened with suspension. A strong protest is also made against what the resolutions call, “the world disgrace”, namely prohibition of bringing newspapers from enemy countries to Austria and the prohibition of permitting most of Slav journals to be sent even to neutral countries.