Czech Republic: TV Prima defends its anti-refugee newscasts by referring to a non-existent broadcast regulator "decision"
The FTV Prima company issued a press release last week reacting to information published by news server Hlídacípes.org ("Watchdog") that the station management instructed newsroom producers to present refugees as a crisis, problem, and threat. In its own main news broadcasts on the issue, Prima has told its viewers that the station has been facing a campaign based on what they are calling a "manipulated" audio recording of the meeting where the instructions were given.
Prima is also asserting in its own news reporting on the scandal that the Czech broadcast regulator, the Council on Radio and Television Broadcasting (RRTV), has confirmed that the stations newscasts are "balanced", referencing an analysis of its output published on 15 December 2015 and a "decision" supposedly taken on 19 April 2016. According to the officially published minutes of RRTV, however, no such decision exists, while its analysis last year actually confirmed that Prima is broadcasting an anti-refugee bias to the Czech public.
"The newsroom of TV Prima works with an editorial approach based on an independent description of events. On 7 September 2015 there was an editorial meeting, the aim of which was to establish for our viewers an comprehensible, consistent editorial approach to the issue of the ongoing refugee question. At that meeting, various opinions were heard within the framework of a standard discussion. Luboš Jetmar, a member of the FTV Prima board, was invited by news director Jitka Obzinová solely as a person with personal experience of living for several years in the Arab world," the station's press release on the scandal reads.
"After this meeting, the newsroom of TV Prima continued its everyday editorial work, in which one of the topics was the so-called refugee question. The balanced nature of its work has been confirmed by the Council on Radio and Television Broadcasting through an analysis of a press monitoring of our output published in 15 December 2015 and subsequently through its decision dated 19 April 2016 regarding our reportage about Iraqi refugees," the press release reads.
However, according to the head of the RRTV, Ivan Krejčí, the Council found problems when it monitored Prima's broadcasts. "We must base our analysis on press monitoring and an analytical assessment of both feature segments and news reporting. Recently we have familiarized ourselves with the results of an in-depth monitoring that was not just about individual programs, but about broadcasts as a whole over a broader chunk of time. In the case of Prima, it was confirmed that there are problematic tendencies there. For that reason, another long-term monitoring was commissioned so we can verify our findings. That will be ready at some point in September," Krejčí said in an interview for news server iHNed.cz last week.
The RRTV analysis that Prima has told its viewers is "proof" of its alleged "balanced" reporting includes the following statement: "The broadcasting as a whole did not pay much attention to the perspectives of the refugees themselves and depicted them rather a s a source of problems for Europeans. This markedly Eurocentric perspective can implicitly bolster an attitude of rejection (against refugees) among the Czech public."
Prima has also referred to an RRTV decision dated 19 April 2016. As news server Romea.cz previously reported, RRTV reviewed a complaint that day regarding a Prima reportage about Christian refugees from Iraq.
According to the complaint, Prima committed manipulation in that reportage. In the vote on a motion to find the station had committed wrongdoing, only six members of the Council cast their votes, which meant there was no quorum for that agenda item, even though the agenda items preceding it and following it involved all 10 members of the Council present casting votes, as that many votes were cast for most of the 59 other rulings in the record of that session.
The vote to find that the station was in error was, therefore, not counted because there was no quorum when it was taken. The Swedish media group MTG, which owns 50 % of the stock in FTV Prima Holding, has since issued a brief statement on the scandal.
"We have clear regulations regarding editorial independence of the press and objective news reporting," a representative of the MTG media group told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, which has reported on the scandal on the basis of an English translation of news server Romea.cz's reporting on the issue. "We are in a dialogue with the local management of TV Prima in the Czech Republic in order to better comprehend what actually happened."
- Czech Republic: TV Prima managers caught on tape telling reporters to "obey orders" about how to report on refugees
- Soraya Post: Roma deportations increasing due to Syrian refugee crisis
- Czech Republic: Prima TV station told reporters to depict refugees as a risk and a threat or they would be fired
- Germany: Romani refugees occupy Berlin memorial to Roma murdered during Nazism, police intervene
- Čeněk Růžička: Relatives of the Romani victims of Nazism and survivors disagree with anti-refugee sentiment
- Czech Republic: Five charged for neo-Nazi assault on demonstration in favor of receiving refugees
- Czech report on extremism for last year: 307 events, anti-refugee protests replaced anti-Romani ones
- Czech Republic: 1 May assemblies against refugee reception and against xenophobia, right-wing extremists verbally assault journalists
- Czech Republic: Group of 16 Christian refugees wants to go back to Iraq
- Czech Police arrest 16 Iraqi refugees who want to leave the country
- Germany sends Christian refugees back to Czech Republic for deportation to Iraq
- Czech Interior Ministry appealing municipal decision on gallows at anti-refugee hate demonstration
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights inserts himself into scandal over refugee interview
- 17 Czech senators say tv report on refugees constitutes illegal incitement to hatred
- Czech Republic: Interpreter confirms TV Prima manipulated footage of refugee interview
- Czech Republic: TV Prima releases more footage in its defense, but doubts remain about its interview with refugee
- Czech Internet flooded with fake news alleging parasites are infesting items now mandated by the Government, such as antigen tests
- Director of Czech-Roma NGO posts photos and video in effort to show that mandatory respirators are not "infested with parasites" as hoaxes claim
- Roma children electrocuted while playing in a Belgrade settlement
- COMMENTARY: Romale, Bill Gates does not want to track you, vaccinations against COVID-19 will not kill you and do not involve microchips
- MEP Peter Pollák, a Romani community member from Slovakia, posts footage of his vaccination against COVID-19 to combat conspiracy theories influencing the community
- Czech Health Ministry to refute disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic next year
- COMMENTARY: Czech TV show portrays Roma as nothing but criminals
- Czech MP publishes long-refuted fake video purporting to show "refugees" attacking a police vehicle
- Czech police use dehumanizing terms if incidents involve Romani people, the media parrot them - and then pogroms begin
- Commentary: Romani actors should boycott Czech cop show over antigypsyist content
- "Czechs Are Helping" initiative to hold benefit Romani music concert to raise money for children in Greek refugee camps
- Commentary: CNN Prima begins its Czech-language broadcasting with stereotypes about Romani people