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Czech tabloid apologizes for invented report about Romani political party treasurer

Prague, 22.2.2012 19:44, (ROMEA)

The news server Parlamentní has disclaimed its report about the "European Romani Party" (ERS) having been allegedly robbed by its own treasurer during its constitutive assembly. The entire report was invented. Its author, Václav Prokůpek, was once a leading candidate for the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti -DSSS). Editors at Parlamentní have now ceased all collaboration with him.

News server was the first to point out that the report was untrue. Several media outlets reprinted the false news without verifying it.

"Václav Prokůpek, the author of the incriminated article - who today no longer writes for Parlamentní - repeatedly assured the editorial leadership that he had made an audio recording of the event and taken photographs of it. As of yesterday evening, former reporter Prokůpek was still repeating those words," news server Parlamentní reports.

Prokůpek gave the same response to a question posed by news server when we directly asked him for contacts so we could verify the report. "Naturally," he said, "I have photos available and a Dictaphone recording, but I will not give you my contacts on principle, I am a freelancer."

"Even though at the start Parlamentní believed the words of this reporter, who had previously passed the test of producing several other pieces of material without any problem, after the information reported in particular by Patrik Banga and František Kostlán, as well as investigations of our own, the editors came to the conclusion that this piece of material was mendacious and that the author had all but completely invented it," continues news server Parlamentní, adding: "Parlamentní thanks Patrik Banga first and foremost for pointing out this regrettable matter. Parlamentní also apologizes to all persons and readers who were aggrieved by the piece."

The invented article, which was taken up without being verified by the larger news servers on the Czech scene, such as,, Tý, Dení, etc., became an internet sensation. Thousands of people shared the "news" and many racist, anti-Romani opinions have been voiced in online discussions housed by media outlets.

For the time being, the only other news server to respond to this clear oversight has been news server, which published a blog about it by Patrik Banga in its news section and has also published its own apology. Banga collaborates with "We are very sorry that we misinformed our readers and did not reveal this disinformation sooner. From this point forward we will apply stricter rules to the monitoring of other media outlets so that this never occurs again," said Editor-in Chief Michal Hanák.

Last night, news server TÝ quietly removed the invented article from its website and published a new article on its front page correcting the information according to the findings of news server News server, which did not report the hoax, published an article summarizing the entire affair and confirming the findings of news server

Ondřej Liška, chair of the Czech Green Party, has criticized the media and sent an open letter, signed by more than 200 people, to the chief editors of the outlets that republished the false news. The letter demands the media correct the record. Czech Senator Jaromír Štětina has also called on representatives of the Parliament of the Czech Republic to publicly distance themselves from news server Parlamentní, which is not affiliated with that institution.

Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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