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September 18, 2020

 

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Czech Television reports that elected politicians' names have been removed from official report on extremism for 2019

6.9.2020 12:56
Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna (SPD) (left) and Czech MP Tomio Okamura (SPD) (right) at a press conference on 7 April 2020. (PHOTO:  ČT24)
Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna (SPD) (left) and Czech MP Tomio Okamura (SPD) (right) at a press conference on 7 April 2020. (PHOTO: ČT24)

The Czech Interior Ministry published its Report on Extremism for 2019 earlier this summer. Several passages in it mentioned the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement, chaired by Tomio Okamura.

According to public broadcaster Czech Television's program "Reporters", Okamura's name has now been deleted from the final version of the report. "As part of the extremist right-wing scene as traditionally understood, growth was noted in activites by dogmatic neo-Nazis who have definitively distanced themselves from the Workers Social Justice Party and from National Democracy. These traditional players, however, have been absolutely overshadowed in the field of hatemongering by xenophobic groups that have begun to profile themselves in association with the crisis around migration. The 'Freedom and Direct Democracy' movement has unequivocally dominated," the report reads.

As the Czech Television reporters have ascertained, the passage about the SPD movement made it into the official version of the report in abbreviated form. A specific paragraph has been deleted from it.

That paragraph was the only place in the section on the SPD where Okamura and two MEPs with the movement were mentioned by name. The passage as originally drafted read: "These were Hynek Blaško and Ivan David. One component of the SPD campaign was the April [2019] assembly on Wenceslas Square attended by Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party in the Netherlands and by Marine Le Pen from National Rally in France. The chair of the SPD, Tomio Okamura, repeatedly met with Matteo Salvini of Italy's Northern League as well."

The report also notices that the dissemination of hatred has ceased to be just the domain of extremists as traditionally understood. They have been very effectively augmented by populist, xenophobic groups, by disinformation media oulets, and less distinctly by militia entities.

Especially in the virtual environment there has been a growth in the aggressivity and vulgarity of hate speech. An ever-widening spectrum of groups in society is the target of attacks and threats.

This trend is reflected in the criminal justice authorities' intelligence reports. The existence has been noted of societies whose members absolutely believe disinformation media outlets and reject any other information.

"Several disinformation media outlets have become very influential instruments for spreading hate. They intentionally produce controversial subject matter on their own and push it to these xenophobic entities. Frequently these outlets also provide the  xenophobic entities room to express their opinions. Several disinformation servers have relatively large readerships, and some readers are even willing to financially support them," the report notes.

Jan Cemper, Manipulátoři.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Česká televize, Extremism, Hate, Interior Ministry



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