Czech Republic, Brno: Kulturní noviny

"Kulturní noviny" is an opinion-paper. It is critical towards neoliberal tendencies, the egoistic alignment of politics and the nontransparent structures of power.

The editors. Bild: Kulturní noviny

Kulturní noviny is an opinion-paper that covers politics, society and culture. It was founded as an alternative to the mainstream-media, as a voice of the civil society, the people who are committed to change and a culture that is not only cultural business. KN is critical towards neoliberal tendencies, the egoistic alignment of politics and the nontransparent structures of power.

The Czech market ist dominated by the mainstream media (5 daily newspapers and 3 weekly papers). They are consumption-oriented, support right-wing and conservative opinions and are opponent to left and social-oriented activities. This is the legacy of a totalitarian regime – there are no opinion-papers. The only one that could be considered as such is right-conservative.

Our readers

Our readers are interested in societal alternatives and are activly working in social, ecological, political and cultural organisations. Many of them are educators, ecologists, artists, social workers...

We are still at our beginning, but we are already strong in our coverage of culture, especially in literarture. We are different, because we are not located in Prague and pay more attention to regional cultural events. Also we focus in ecologial and social topics. Our next aim is politics. We have 7 employees and 3 freelancers. Also we have about 50 extern authors.

We reported about a lawsuit at the university of Brno, which influenced the struggle about the character of the academic field, its freedom and ethics. The case was symbolic for the whole society that is threatened by neoliberalism and technocratism.

Our main challenge: To keep up and improve our paper. We want more employees, especially in the production. And we want more freelancers for advertisement acquiration.

Where we want to be in 5 years

We want to establish a counter weight to the right-conservative papers, carry on with a good culutre coverage and have a respected voice within society, that is critical with the estabilshment.

From the very beginning we have been a cooperative society, inspired by the taz. This model allows us, to bring people together that have different shares, and still be democratic: one member has one voice. Additionally, we bring together people who want to be active.

The model guarantees us independence from big donators or corporations. We do want to tie up to our historical traditions. Between the two world wars and even earlier, cooperative societies have been an important part of the Czech society and culture.

The prominent national philharmonic was founded in 1904 as a cooperative society, earlier as the national theatre, later on many publishers etc. The communist dictatorship has destroyed all that – it changed the cooperative societies in instruments of power. Until today, the term "cooperative society" has a negative connotation.

Make society more self-confident

The cooperative society is the attempt to activate people. Many people here are very sceptical and think, they can not chagne anything. It is a great challenge and an opportunity, to make society more self-confident. We are a great experiment.

In the beginning, we were 19 members in the cooperative society, at the end of 2011, we were 62. We are a very diversified grup: renowned professors, anti-totalitarian dissidients, yound journalists, eco-activists, teachers, artists, writers, engineers etc.

In questions of principle, that affect the existence of our paper, we all have the same rights. In concrete questions, the board of directors decides (today that is the redaction). The board of directors also makes propositions for the future.Our capital in 2009 was about 20.000 Euro, today we have 12.000. We had a deficit in the last year.

We pay symbolic fees, that are calculated by a very simple system (written pages) and symbolic wages for the editors (around 120 Euro per month). But we all have other sources of income. We would like to expand our staff and increase professionalisation. Also we would like to invest in advertisement for our paper.