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September 23, 2018
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Czech tabloid will not be inviting ultra-right party representatives to its online debates

15.8.2018 6:42
A campaign billboard for the SPD party of Tomio Okamura, October 2017, which says
A campaign billboard for the SPD party of Tomio Okamura, October 2017, which says "Money for the decent, not for the parasites". (PHOTO:

The daily Blesk tabloid has decided not to invite any politicians from the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) party to its candidate debates prior to the autumn elections. After the 2017 elections, reporters from the publication were not given access to the party's events, so the move is one of retaliation.

"They made it clear that they do not want our readers to know how things run in that party. We are respecting that," David Vaníček, the manager of Blesk Zprávy, told Czech Television.

"They will not be a part of the election debates," Vaníček said. He also believes the hateful, racist, xenophobic statements made by some SPD members could pose a problem.

"These debates will be broadcast live. We cannot be liable for what SPD politicians might present during a live broadcast. Given that SPD politicians frequently get into trouble because of racism, xenophobia and hateful attacks, we do not want to assume that responsibility," Vaníček explained.

The manager also warned of the problems connected with the online social network communications of the SPD movement. "What's more, the SPD has long deleted any critical posts to its online social networks and has blocked those who contribute such posts from participating in their online discussions. They usually never answer any critical inquiries from the media, including the Blesk newsroom, and for that reason we have decided that we will respect that policy, which certainly will be familiar to the SPD, and not allow them onto our live broadcast," he said.

Czech MP Tomio Okamura, the chair of the SPD, said Blesk is censoring his movement. "The Blesk print daily and its online daily have again decided, just like last year, to absolutely leave the SPD out of the election debates. That attitude is absolutely obvious political censorship," he said.

vhl, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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