Czech Police investigating hateful online comments inciting violence against Czech Radio reporter that were sparked by politician
The Czech Police are investigating the comments online posted by some social media users echoing remarks made by the chair of the populist-xenophobic "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement, MP Tomio Okamura, about a particular Czech Radio reporter who asked him questions on Wednesday in the Chamber of Deputies related to an alleged rape case that happened in the Litoměřice area. Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) has tweeted that an investigation into the online commentary has been opened.
Czech Radio director René Zavoral called Okamura's social media posts an attack on the very essence of Czech Radio as a public broadcaster and a breach of the democratic principles society is based on. "What has been unleashed on the Facebook page of Tomio Okamura against the Czech Radio journalist is disgusting. I would like to assure the public that the Police of the Czech Republic is investigating the entire matter," the Interior Minister tweeted.
Okamura criticized the reporter on Facebook for the approach she took toward asking him the source of the allegations he posted online about the alleged rape and its circumstances. The politician posted the allegations in response to reports from the Litoměřice area that a girl below the age of 18 had allegedly been raped there on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Věra Šípalová told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday that police have accused a young man of African origin of the crime. The court was meant to decide yesterday on whether the foreign national should be taken into custody.
Okamura made the deceptive claim on Facebook that the foreign national had been deported from Germany. Prosecutor Kateřina Doušová disputed that claim, telling news server Novinky.cz: "For the time being it has just been confirmed that the man using that name in Germany on an application for asylum is the same man whom police have arrested in the Czech Republic. He has not yet been deported from Germany."
In his Facebook post, Okamura described the alleged rapist as a "migrant from Africa deported from Germany". The Czech Radio reporter asked him what his source was for that claim, among other questions.
"Czech Radio has long slandered and stained the reputation of the SPD and censored our opinions so they could not be heard. It is essentially just another optimistic political party using public money to manipulate public opinion in order to benefit just one current of opinion," Okamura posted after his interview with the reporter, adding that the SPD does not yet have the power to influence the board of the public broadcaster.
The SPD chair called on social media users to express their views about how the reporter had asked her questions. People responded by urging that violence be committed against her.
Dozens of Okamura's adherents wrote in to say they hope the reporter will be raped herself. News server Deník N published one of the posts, which read as follows: "She should be fucked by a band of immigrants from Africa and all of her bodily orifices should be used. From the front, from the back, orally, anally, so the cultural enrichment can flow from everywhere, and as a bonus, she should get a sexually transmitted fatal disease to top it off from that parasite, then the reporter would start talking differently," posted social media user Markéta Bobášková, whose Facebook profile includes the information that she herself is the mother of a young daughter.
Czech Radio director Zavoral defended the reporter, saying she had proceeded absolutely in accordance with Czech Radio standards. He said the allegation that the accused is a man from Africa who had been deported from Germany just a couple of hours before the crime was committed has been refuted by official sources.
"The allegation that [the accused] is an African immigrant who had been released from prison in Dresden was posted to his Facebook profile by the Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Tomio Okamura. That is why we asked our reporter who covers the Chamber of Deputies to confirm that allegation and report on Okamura's source. She asked him that question very politely and professionally. Immediately after she posted the first question, however, he began attacking her and criticizing the work of some media outlets, Czech Radio in particular," the Czech Radio director said, thoroughly rejecting the allegation that Czech Radio had minimized the alleged rape in any way, as Okamura later claimed.
The ROMEA organization has expressed its support for Czech Radio reporter Zdeňka Trachtová and has called on MPs to remove Okamura from his position as Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic because of his repeated dissemination of hatred and his support for commentaries on social media that could be criminal. "Independent journalism is a pillar of democracy and the safety of journalists is unconditionally associated with it," ROMEA said.
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