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Czech Senator asks Parliament to distance itself from tabloid calling itself "Parliamentary News"

Prague, 21.2.2012 17:46, (ROMEA)
Czech Senator Jaromír Štětina - photo from his Facebook profile

Czech Senator Jaromír Štětina, who is also a journalist, has sent a letter to the chair of the Chamber of Deputies, Czech MP Miroslava Němcová, and the chair of the Senate, Senator Milan Štěch, asking both chambers to publicly distance themselves from the online daily called "Parlamentní listy" ("Parliamentary News"). Štětina is concerned that many other media outlets and readers both at home and abroad might mistakenly consider the tabloid to be an official publication of the Czech Parliament. "The political tabloid form which Parlamentní listy has chosen as its main marketing effort evokes the idea among the public that the vulgarization of serious societal topics is coming from the Parliament of the Czech Republic," Štětina argues in the letter.

"The decision to write that letter was also due to two articles about Parlamentní listy published recently by news server Romea.cz," Štětina told our news desk. The senator was referring to a recent article about how Parlamentní listy reports on events to its readers. The tabloid published a report on the creation of a "European Romani Party" which was then allegedly robbed by its treasurer. None of the article's claims could be verified either by Romea.cz or by local police.

A follow-up article by Romea.cz warned against the author of this probable journalistic hoax, Václav Prokůpek, one of several contributors to Parlamentní listy who has published anti-Romani articles there. Prokůpek was the leading candidate in Olomouc Region for the extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti) in the parliamentary elections of 2010. He has also been prosecuted twice for assault and has committed other offenses.

Štětina says the tabloid has been professionally crafted from a managerial perspective and that its circulatory and financial success is based on a hefty dose of tabloid style and "news from behind the scenes". "That does not bother me, I appreciate their business profile in general. Tabloids belong on the media scene, there is no question that they have their readership. However, I am bothered by the fact that extremist, quasi-fascist pieces are being published in this tabloid and on other news sites that might be linked to the Parliament of the Czech Republic because of the tabloid's name," Štětina said.

The full text of the letter Senator Štětina published on Facebook is published here with the author's consent:

Esteemed Madame Chair of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic,

Esteemed Mr Chair of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic,

Permit me to express my uneasiness over the actions of the online news server calling itself "Parlamentní listy" ("Parliamentary News"). As you know, this news server has nothing to do with the Parliament of the Czech Republic, but it is considered an official publication of the Czech Republic by many other media outlets and readers both at home and abroad and is often even cited as such. The political tabloid form which Parlamentní listy has chosen as its main marketing effort evokes the idea among the public that the vulgarization of serious societal topics is coming from the Parliament of the Czech Republic. I ask you to consider, esteemed Madame Chair, esteemed Mr Chair, whether the Parliament of the Czech Republic should not publicly distance itself from the "Parliamentary News".

With respect,

Jaromír Štětina

journalist and senator

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 725x

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