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Cunek suspected of plagiarism in his speech on Romanies

Prague, 15.1.2008 11:30, (ROMEA/CTK)

Czech junior ruling Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman Jiri Cunek allegedly rewrote parts of Jakub Steiner's essay in his controversial speech on Romanies pronounced last Friday at his party's conference, Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) and Lidove noviny (LN) report today.

Steiner claims in the papers that Cunek committed plagiarism in his speech, using his essay Economics of Social Exclusion from 2004 without citing the source.
Steiner, who lectures at university in Edinburgh, Britain, has dealt with Romany issues in the long run. In the past, he was a street worker in the Romany community and he cooperated with the People in Need humanitarian organisation, MfD says.

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Moreover, Steiner points out that Cunek "borrowed" from his study only the ideas that might suit xenophobic groups in society and avoided those showing that Romanies can suffer from real problems and be discriminated against, MfD says.

"Mr Cunek either does not understand what intellectual property means or he is that cynical. With clumsiness of a local politician, he tried to change the word order in several sentences, maybe hoping that a changed sentence can be passed off as his own idea. He was looting my article in a selective manner choosing only those ideas that are critical towards Romanies and can score a success among voters," MfD quotes Steiner as saying.

However, KDU-CSL spokesman Martin Horalek said Cunek had ensued from various studies in his speech and he had stressed that not all ideas were his own.
Cunek considers it his mistake that he did not refer to Steiner's study in his presentation, Horalek told MfD.

Steiner does not intend to solve the case in court. He says it is sufficient for him that the Czech public will be informed about Cunek's plagiarism.

In his speech, Cunek mainly shocked by his statements that the traditional Romany culture and its system of values are "in many cases" at variance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, and that the broad family bonds prevent the social integration of Romanies.

Romany activists sharply criticised Cunek's words and called them scandalous.

Cunek resigned from the coalition government in reaction to the re-opening of his corruption case last November. After he was definitely exonerated from the corruption suspicion, the KDU-CSL renominated him for the government posts, which stirred up tension in the government coalition. He has not yet returned to the government, however.

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