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Office of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament distances itself from tabloid

Prague, 24.4.2012 17:50, (ROMEA)

Representatives of the Office of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament have posted the following to the official website of the lower house: "The Chamber of Deputies decidedly distances itself from the internet server Parlamentní listy [in translation, 'Parliamentary News']. The authors of its articles, its content, its focus, its publishers and its title have nothing to do with the work of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and in no way reflect its standpoints. The official internet page of the Chamber of Deputies is www.psp.cz, where those interested can find information about the work of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic."

The lower house has taken this step in response to a request that both chambers of Parliament clearly distance themselves from Parlamentní listy. That wish was first expressed by Czech Senator Jaromír Štětina and a group of public figures who signed on to his letter.

Štětina wrote to the Chair of the Chamber of Deputies, Czech MP Miroslava Němcová, and the Chair of the Senate, Czech Senator Milan Štěch, requesting that both chambers of Parliament publicly distance themselves from the online daily tabloid. In his letter, Štětina said many media outlets and readers both in the Czech Republic and abroad mistakenly considered the daily to be the official organ of the Czech Parliament. "The form of a political tabloid which Parlamentní listy has chosen as its main marketing strategy evokes the idea among the public that this vulgarization of serious social topics is coming from the Parliament of the Czech Republic," Štětina argued.

"The articles about Parlamentní listy published by news server Romea.cz contributed to the decision to write this letter," Štětina told Romea.cz. The senator was referring to the reporting on how the tabloid brings various issues to its readership, which showed that it had published a completely fabricated report about the creation of a "European Romani Party" in the Czech Republic which was allegedly robbed by its own treasurer. Another Romea.cz article pointed out that the author of that journalistic fraud, Václav Prokůpek, one of several right-wing extremists writing anti-Romani articles for the tabloid, was the leading candidate for the right-wing extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) in the 2010 parliamentary elections in Olomouc Region and has been prosecuted twice for assault and other violations.

Several dozen leading figures then signed on to Štětina's open letter calling on Czech legislators to thoroughly distance themselves from Parlamentní listy. The impulse for that letter was an anti-Semitic article published by the tabloid. The open letter read in part as follows:

"Even though that article is no longer on the Parlamentní listy website, this case has once again raised the fundamental question of why the Parliament of the Czech Republic has not yet distanced itself from a media outlet which is infamous for its scandals. One of the biggest such scandals was the publication of a completely fabricated article which aimed to harm the reputation of the Romani minority, as revealed by news server Romea.cz.

Parlamentní listy has every right to give space to contributions by con artists, extremists, and violent offenders. Nevertheless, for many readers, including those abroad, the name of this media outlet is completely misleading, as it gives the impression that it is an official media outlet of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.

Another chapter entirely is the group of web portals associated together under the auspices of Český portál o.s., which hosts Parlamentní listy and shares many editors and writers with it. The Český portál platform is nothing but an offensive, racist, vulgar collection of hate texts. Here I won't bother you with concrete links and quotes; you can form your own opinion by looking into the archive at: http://ceskyportal.parlamentnilisty.cz//Default.aspx.

The nature of Parlamentní listy and its offshoots at Český portál, in our opinion, discredit the institution of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. It would therefore be appropriate for deputies from the democratic parties seated in Parliament to publicly, unequivocally distance themselves from its material. I believe that none of our representatives would want to be associated with the diction used by these media outlets."

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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