Czech broadcasting board criticizes TV NOVA for promoting anti-hate campaign
News server Mediář, which reports on the Czech media, has broken the news that the Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting (RRTV) is criticizing the TV NOVA station for disproportionately emphasizing a "product", namely, the HateFree sticker that business owners can put in their windows, specifically as part of its series "Ulice" ("The Street"). The HateFree project, which is managed by the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion, has purchased an advertising package of broadcasting times that include product placement of the campaign within the series and has paid roughly CZK 400 000 [EUR 14 800] for the spots so far.
According to the RRTV, there has been disproportionate "emphasis of the product placement of HateFree Culture, especially through the detailed description of the principle of the project." The RRTV gave examples of the specific bits of dialogue scripted into the series that it considers "disproportionate".
Here are some examples of what characters on the series have been scripted to say about the project:
-"Basically it's about demonstrating that you don't approve of hatred of those who are different, like homosexuals, other races, stuff like that."
-"Businesses can join it too. Coolna is perfect for it. Take a look online."
-"I'll take a look. Monika might like it."
Or the following:
- "She's running around here with those pink stickers telling everyone they have to love each other and that it's wrong to hate someone who's different."
- "Hey, tell me something about that HateFree campaign."
- "Well you must have noticed that recently everyone is hating on everyone else, whether it's about race or religion or any other difference."
Or the following:
- "Let's do it. Sometimes that kind of knucklehead or Nazi turns up here, so we wouldn't even have to throw them out, they'd see the sticker on the door and know we don't tolerate any violence."
Project coordinator says ultra-right could be behind the complaint
Lukáš Houdek, coordinator of the HateFree Culture project, first learned of the RRTV criticism when contacted by news server Romea.cz. He speculated that people from the "We Don't Want Islam in the Czech Republic" group may be behind the original complaint to the council.
"They were really in disarray when they found out that an advertisement for our project is part of 'The Street'," Houdek said. "They reacted by cyberbullying the actors in the series, assaulting them with hundreds of e-mails and Facebook posts. They especially targeted actress Berenika Kohoutová."
Houdek says he chose the series for the product placement because it is one of the most-watched programs on Czech television, but that was not the only reason. "Various groups of people, including youth, follow the series, their audience is a mixture of interesting target groups," he explained.
"I'm not able to judge whether the degree to which the advertising of our product is taking place is exaggerated compared to other cases of product placement," said Houdek. "Naturally we were shown the script, it seemed tolerable to me."
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