Slovak Plenipotentiary for Romani Community to run own journal - is it unfair competition?
The Office of the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for the Romani Community (Úřad zmocněnce vlády SR pro romskou komunitu - ÚSVRK) will be publishing its own journal under the title Romane Nevipena. The aim of the periodical is get more information to municipalities and field workers participating in projects for the Romani community.
News server Teraz.sk reports that ÚSVRK has received EUR 30 000 for the design and publication of the journal from a subsidy program of the Office of the Slovak Government called "The Culture of National Minorities 2014". According to Plenipotentiary Petra Pollák (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities Party - OĽaNO), the 10-page magazine will have a print run of 6 000.
Ten editions of the magazine are planned for 2014. Roman Čonka, editor-in-chief of the existing Romani community journal Romano nevo ľil, believes this new periodical will have an advantage over others as a government project.
Čonka is also pointing out that the new magazine will have political backing, as Petr Pollák is an MP for OĽaNO. For his part, Pollák says 2 000 people are currently involved in performing field work to benefit the improvement of conditions for ethnic Roma and there is every prospect that the numbers of such people will increase.
"They have long lacked information about the projects that have been designed and the activities that have been implemented in the areas where they work, and that empty space has not yet been adequately filled by any of the existing periodicals," Pollák said when asked to explain the purpose of the magazine. The Plenipotentiary believes increased awareness will lead to improving the work undertaken with Romani communities.
The editorial team of the magazine has not yet been established. ÚSVRK wants to find an editor-in-chief on the basis of a selections procedure.
According to ÚSVRK, the magazine's first issue should come out during the next few weeks. It will be printed by the Printing Services Center of the Slovak Interior Ministry.
"We will distribute it to local authorities, to regional authorities, and to community centers through our office's regional centers," Pollák said. Until now the Romani community in Slovakia has had only one print journal focused on the cultural and social life of Romani people, the magazine Romano nevo ľil.
That periodical has been in existence since 1991. There is also a print magazine for children called Luluďi.
According to the editor-in-chief of Romano nevo ľil, Roman Čonka, the magazine has had problems with financing during the past two years, mainly due to the inexpert decisions made by a commission of the Office of the Slovak Government which resulted in an protracted contract-signing procedure. "It's good if the Romani nationality in Slovakia has several thematically-oriented Romani print publications, but the financial support for them should not be forgotten about. Newspapers that have a history behind them should not be forgotten either. I don't want to judge the content of this new newspaper because it is still in the preparation phase, but the first information publicized about it indicates that it will enjoy an advantage compared to others. It's not good for a new periodical to have a political background either. We must not forget that the Plenipotentiary isn't just an official without a party affiliation - he is an MP with political cover," Čonka told news server Romea.cz.
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