The View From Our Own Correspondents: Czech Republic

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The Independent Online
In the former Soviet bloc countries of central Europe, the news was greeted with dismay tinged with nostalgia.

Until 1989 the BBC was a beacon of hope. Both dissidents and average citizens met secretly to listen to broadcasts that were banned by the Communists.

Former dissidents in the Czech Republic, such as Jan Urban, said that the BBC helped to bring down the Soviet empire.

But Urban now realises that the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are firm democracies, no longer in need of free information from the West.