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Commentary: Czech tabloid misinforms public that Romani children in Varnsdorf "don't go to school"

11.8.2016 18:59
The Czech tabloid news server Parlamentní listy misquoted anthropologist Radka Vepřková in August 2016 as saying that Romani children in Varnsdorf
The Czech tabloid news server Parlamentní listy misquoted anthropologist Radka Vepřková in August 2016 as saying that Romani children in Varnsdorf "don't go to school". (Collage: Romea.cz)

After watching a recently televised interview between the journalist Daniela Drtinová and anthropologist Radka Vepřková about the situation in the Czech town of Varnsdorf, I was curious to see what the tabloid news server Parlamentní listy (PL) was publishing about it - and what I found was no surprise. PL once again has produced its own particular interpretation of what was said, this time cherry-picking from the anthropologist's answers and also directly misquoting her.

"[W]omen, because they frequently have many children, stay home to take care of them and don't enroll them into nursery school," Vepřková says when asked to describe an average day in a Romani settlement, where the men are out at work and the women are home with the children. A little later in the interview she describes how, during her stay with the Romani community, she was pleasantly surprised by how many children were attending school.

PL's interpretation of this is as follows:  "What does their regular day look like? The men very frequently go to work for the local technical services. They increase their work status quite a bit by doing so. They go home in their uniforms. The women take care of the children because they don't go to school."

It's difficult to say whether this is just the author's lack of attention to detail, or whether it is an absolutely intentional manipulation. The tabloid only devotes two paragraphs to the interview, but makes room for absolutely marginal "facts" about the community, such as "reports of complaints about noise".

Another sentence - "individual families don't like each other, are unable to get along, and conflicts arise between them" - is also quoted completely out of context. Once again, the editors at PL are busy beating their favorite dead horse.

Adéla Gálová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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manipulace, Média, Parlamentní listy, Varnsdorf



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