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Romani activist: Czech media contributing to a new Hilsner Affair

Prague, 1.7.2012 19:01, (Romano voďi)

It's evident that blood sells newspapers - this is why the main television news, even on non-commercial stations, only reports about Romani citizens of the Czech Republic in the context of negative cases and scandals. Understandably, this influences public opinion and it is therefore no surprise that 80 % of the majority-society part of the population does not want a Romani neighbor.

It cannot be denied that anti-Gypsy sentiments in society are partially based on people's own experiences, but a significantly widespread stereotypical view of us Roma prevails here which the media feed through work that is not objective. After the media milks scandals during their investigation phase - which means neither the motivation for the alleged crime nor the perpetrators have been determined - the public latches on to the reported ethnicity of the potential perpetrators and we have a classic case of collective blame, reminiscent of the era of the Hilsner Affair.

I personally witnessed this in Rumburk, when a crowd of a thousand people marched through the town shouting slogans such as "After them!", "Let's take pitchforks and run them out of town!", etc. This was not an attempted lynching of alleged individual perpetrators, but a classic pogrom focused against an entire ethnic group. After the media massage, the public enemy had been identified and the mob decided to take action. Paradoxically, it was later proven that the incident they were responding to had not been a racially motivated crime, but a case of two drug gangs settling scores.

I am interested in all criminal cases where the perpetrator is profiled ethnically. We are also monitoring scandals where the alleged perpetrator was supposedly Romani, but the investigation reveals the entire incident to have been fabricated. A fine example of this is the recent case in Liberec of the allegedly assaulted girl who made everything up.

Drahomír Radek Horváth, Gwendolyn Albert, Drahomír Radek Horváth, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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