The Press: The Rise and Fall of the Free Czech Press

čWhy did the Russians invade Czechoslovakia? If the Moscow newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya is to be believed, it was mostly because they could no longer abide the freedom that Alexander Dubček had granted the Czech press. "The reintroduction of bourgeois press freedom led to the most destructive consequences," declared the Moscow paper in an editorial explaining the invasion. While it lasted, moreover, it was a freedom exercised furiously, with a passion pent up by two decades of enforced Communist conformity. And, despite the Russian tanks, it is not yet completely dead.

Freedom of the...