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Czech moderator cuts short interview with party chair who refuses to distance herself from anti-Jewish texts

5.9.2021 8:40
Vladimíra Vítová (left) and Adam. B. Bartoš (right). (Collage: Romea.cz)
Vladimíra Vítová (left) and Adam. B. Bartoš (right). (Collage: Romea.cz)

During an interview for the DVTV online television channel in the Czech Republic, Vladimíra Vítová, chair of the Alliance of National Forces (Aliance národních sil), which is a nationalist group fielding candidates to the lower house in next month's elections, refused to distance herself from an anti-Jewish text by Adam B. Bartoš, who heads their candidate list in the Ústecký Region - and the moderator ended the interview early for that reason. DVTV has been inviting all the leaders of parties fielding candidates to be interviewed.

The chair of the Alliance was therefore on DVTV as part of their pre-election coverage, and in response to the repeated questions of moderator Michael Rozsypal about her position on Bartoš's criminal conviction for the crime of denying genocide, she said: "You could be convicted of all kinds of things. Whoever wants to beat a dog will always find a stick to do it with. That was exactly the case of Adam Bartoš. He is our leading candidate because he is the chair of National Democracy. I have no problem with that."   

Vítová also refused to distance herself from an anti-Jewish text that Bartoš has been convicted of authoring and for which he has been duly sentenced, so DVTV ended the interview early. "That is exactly how any decent journalist should behave. The Nazis do not belong in the public space of the 21st century!" commented the In IUSTITIA organization, which aids the victims of bias crimes in the Czech Republic. 

"Michael Rozsypal is putting himself in the role of judge and executioner. This unprofessional journalist was tendentiously producing 'antisemites' through his manipulative management of the interview. Is democracy no longer a discussion?" Vítová posted to social media after the interview. 

Bartoš leads the candidate list of the Alliance of National Forces in the Ústecký Region and is also the chair of National Democracy (ND), which the Interior Ministry regularly categorizes as an extremist organization; the ND has attempted to defend itself in court against being so categorized but did not succeed. Their chair has been prosecuted repeatedly. 

The first conviction saw Bartoš sentenced to one year's probation for authoring an anti-Jewish text and placing it by the memorial to 19th-century murder victim Anežka Hrůzová in Polná (Jihlava district), after which he was sentenced to two years' probation for publishing anti-Jewish articles, books and commentaries, and for making public speeches that were antisemitic, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam. Those attending demonstrations convened by Bartoš brought two mockups of gallows with nooses for those whom they believe are their enemies. 

In 2013 Bartoš was already famous for his antisemitic, extremist opinions, but he was nevertheless among the official guests invited to the annual ceremony at Prague Castle to bestow state honors. Czech President Miloš Zeman did not invite most of the country's former prime ministers to the ceremony that year and also did not invite two rectors of universities who had previously criticized him, but Bartoš got an invitation. 

In 2018, Bartoš published works by the head of Aeronet, a disinformation website. He himself has authored several pamphlets which he has self-published. 

In August 2014, for example, he published a tract entitled "Confession. Am I an antisemite?" („Zpověď. Jsem antisemita?“). Journalist Jan Urban called it "apparently the most racist, most antisemitic little work in the post-1989 history of Czech publishing."  

ryz, translating by Gwendolyn Albert
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Adam B. Bartoš, DVTV, Extremism, Rozhovory



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