Dušan Havlíček is a media journalist and theorist.
Havlíček graduated from the Prague Teaching Institute and from 1942 he studied conducting at the Prague Conservatory at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. But in 1944, he was arrested by the Gestapo, and in the same year in Nuremberg he was sentenced to six years in prison. He was imprisoned for an illegal activity when he was in the student cell of the, at that time illegitimate, Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, having spread leaflets. After returning from prison in August 1945, he continued his studies, which ended in the summer of 1948. He then worked in several different artistic and concert organizations, such as the People's Art Concert Agency, and then for a while moved to the Artistic and Music Centre. He had engaged in different aspects of the cultural sphere from the circus, to café concerts, to television broadcasting.
At the end of the 1950s, he devoted himself to journalism, and for a short time he also worked in the cultural column of Rudé právo (a communist newspaper). He then went to the magazine "Hudební rozhledy". In 1963, he became editor of Cultural Works, where he dealt mainly with television and music. He also worked as a journalist focusing on culture, mostly about Switzerland. In the autumn of 1967, along with other editors, he left Cultural Arts in protest of the appointment of a new editor-in-chief, known for his ultra-conservative views. He joined the Institute of History and Mass Media Theory at Charles University in Prague.
In May 1968 Havlíček was approached by Čestmír Císař – then the secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party – and offered the position of head of the press section. Havlíček finally accepted this position and in June 1968 he was appointed head of the press, radio and television section of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. However, because he spoke about the meeting of the Bureau of the Central Communist Party of the Czechoslovak Communist Party of August 20, 1968, before occupation, in the Radio Free Europe, Havlíček became a target of frequent attacks by the members of the Communist Party of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. He remained in his post until March 1969, where he was sent as a correspondent of the Czech Press Agency to Geneva. It was all arranged at the last minute, since Alexandr Dubcek had to approve this position and he did so just before the departure. Havlíček refused to obey calls to return to Prague and in January 1970 requested political asylum, which he was granted. The fact that he did not obey the calls led to him being sentenced in absence to prison in Prague for twelve years. The indictment spoke of the damage of property, illegally leaving the republic and damaging its interests abroad.
Dušan Havlíček has lived in Geneva since then. By the mid-1980s, he was a researcher at the Swiss Broadcasting and Television Directorate in Bern. He was then responsible for audience surveys in Geneva's Swiss television in the mid-90s.
At the same time, Dušan Havlíček has worked for many years as a publicist and contributed political articles on Czechoslovakia to a number of Swiss daily newspapers and other foreign journals, and also worked consistently with the exile “Listy” magazine.
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- Brno, Czech Republic
Date of death
Author(s) of this page
- Vrtálková, Anna
Havlíček, Dušan. Jaro no krku: zážitky ze zákulisí sekretariátu ÚV KSČ, od června do prosince 1968. Praha: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR, 1998.