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Satirical TV programme sparks controversy among Finnish Roma

Finland, 19.6.2007 16:02, (http://www.hs.fi/english/print/1135227991966)

The Finnish Roma Forum has asked the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) to suspend broadcasts of the summer comedy series Manne-TV. In an appeal sent to the YLE, the series, which aired its first programme on 2 June, is denounced as demeaning to the Roma population.

The organisation claims that it is racist, that it underscores prejudices, and that it could undermine the results of years of work to change attitudes. YLE Programme Director Harri Virtanen stands behind the show, most of whose producers and actors are Roma themselves. He says that Manne-TV will not be cancelled, adding "The target of the series is the population at large and its prejudices. If someone watching the series thinks 'is that how I think?', or 'do I have attitudes like that?', then we will be fairly close to the aim of the series".

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