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Forum CZ calls on director of Parlamentní listy to stop attacking Romani people

Litvínov, 5.3.2012 20:04, (ROMEA)
Miroslav Kováč

The chair of the the Forum CZ civic association has sent an open letter to the director of news server ParlamentníListy.cz asking the server to stop attacking the Romani minority and publishing generalizations about them in its articles. According to the chair, Miroslav Kováč, the nature of the publication's attacks against the Romani minority has reached a critical level that not only crosses the line of moral behavior, but may even cross the line of democratic principles and the law. The letter, which news server Romea.cz prints in translation in full below, includes the following statement: "Mr Director, I would like to inform you that illegal behavior is committed by individuals, not by society as a whole or any part of it as a whole, as your news server reports in the case of Romani people."

Open Letter to the Director of Parlamentní listy

To: Mr Jan Holoubek, director, Parlamentní listy

Dear Mr Director,

The Forum CZ civic association has been following the news server Parlamentní listy, which you administer, with trepidation. The nature of that publication's attacks against the Romani minority has reached a critical level that not only crosses the line of moral behavior, but may even cross the line of democratic principles and the law. A rather significant number of Romani people, myself included, feel they have been harmed by some of the disinformation you have published, even though we would prefer to believe such reports are instances of editorial neglect. Some examples:

1. "In this way, the Prime Minister intends to repeatedly, thoroughly warn of the real threat of a further escalation of tensions between the majority population and this inadaptable minority."

2. "Deník.cz has reported that social workers employed by the Králův Dvůr town hall have been facing vulgar cursing and racially motivated insults for quite some time from members of the inadaptable Romani minority.“

3. "Politicians continue to be more and more uneasy about the rising aggression of members of the inadaptable Romani minority.", etc.

Mr Director, I would like to inform you that illegal behavior is committed by individuals, not by society as a whole or any part of it as a whole, as your news server reports in the case of Romani people. I would appreciate it if you would communicate this simple fact to your editor and use the weight of your position to force him to respect it and apply it to his future work. By doing so you will not just avoid criticism, but the possibility of being charged with a crime. We are convinced that through performing balanced, objective news reporting, without any sort of categorizing or generalizing, you would ensure for news serveru Parlamentní listy the same degree of credibility that you currently enjoy, if not even more as your reputation would doubtless improve.

At the same time I would like to remind you that similar rhetoric in the past led to the deaths of 6 million Jewish people and 1.5 million Romani people. Through generalizations of this sort, you are harming all citizens of Romani origin irrespective of their social position. By disseminating reports formulated in this way, you are directly putting our lives at risk! A radicalized society does not distinguish between "respectable and non-respectable" citizens, but follows your model of distinguishing between the majority population and an "inadaptable minority".

We therefore ask that you stop publishing similarly formulated news items. We do not want to end up hearing sentences like the following from the hustings in the future:

"...I am thinking of the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish nation. That is one of the matters that can be easily discussed. Every party member will tell you 'the Jewish nation will be exterminated, it's clearly in our program, the exclusion of the Jews, their extirpation - pshaw, it's nothing!' Then all 80 million of these nice German people will come to you and each one of them will have his own decent Jew, and the nice German will tell you: 'All the other [Jews] are pigs, but this one here is the only good Jew.' However... we must look at the fact that none of them have ever passed muster."

Or perhaps this sort of statement: "If the Jews were still part of the German people, it would mean our return to the period of 1916-1917...."

Both of these are quotes from Heinrich Himmler.

I firmly hope that some sanity will break through this darkness.

Sincerely,

Miroslav Kováč

Chair, o. s. Forum CZ

Litvínov, 5 March 2011

Gwendolyn Albert, Miroslav Kováč, tisková zpráva, Forum CZ press release, Miroslav Kováč, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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