Commentary: Objective media in the Czech Republic?
Can anyone tell me why criminals’ ethnicities are reported in the Czech media? Ethnicity is listed, as a rule, only in cases when a crime is committed by Roma. I have never read in the Czech media that a “Bohemian” has committed theft, a “Moravian” murder, a “Jew” robbery (forgive me Ahab, Moses, and the rest) or that a “Silesian” has looted. Members of these ethnicities, including those of us who are Roma, are all citizens of the Czech Republic, with valid identification cards and passports.
I have a few rituals I like to follow. One of them is following the main news broadcasts on TV. At 18:50 I watch TV Prima. At 19:00 I switch to ČT1 and at 19:30 I follow Nova. In the morning I buy the Děčín Daily and understandably I browse the web. Everywhere, the news repeats the same misleading content that deforms public opinion. EVERYWHERE!
The first “hyenas” who started to loot in the places afflicted by flooding recently are said to be “foreigners”. I understand this as a reference to persons from a neighboring country. However, the next day I hear and read that Roma are looting. Even though Roma are citizens of the Czech Republic, their ethnicity, their nationality, is also referenced. TV NOVA’s timing of this news was the best of all. First the channel broadcast a heart-rending report about a soldier who is helping the afflicted when someone steals his mobile phone and other personal items - the entire country feels for him, including me – and then suddenly, we segue to a report about looting Roma. I am not well-read in psychology or in subliminal messaging, but that even a total idiot couldn’t help but see that one. All of the hatred now has a specific outlet.
This morning, another reference to looting, theft, etc. For the time being, the perpetrator is unidentified, but if it ends up not being a Rom, I will evidently never learn whether it was a Bohemian, a Jew, a Moravian or a Silesian. Is this just local folklore? Is it normal to inform the public with such a lack of objectivity?
I am fundamentally opposed to stating the ethnicity or nationality of criminals as far as citizens of the Czech Republic are concerned. Or rather, here’s an idea: Let’s mention ethnicity always, for everyone, not just in cases to do with Roma. I have the feeling it would sound very strange to us to hear: “A Moravian stole, a Silesian held up a bank, a Jew looted, a Bohemian asset-stripped….”
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