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Editors at Slovak news server apologize for anti-Romani, racist joke, but legislator is filing a complaint

18.1.2022 6:37
Slovak news server Pluska.sk published a racist joke on 10 January 2022.
Slovak news server Pluska.sk published a racist joke on 10 January 2022.

The Topky.sk news server reports that the online portal for the Slovak daily Plus JEDEN DEŇ has apologized for publishing an insulting, racist joke that sparked outrage among its readers. Pluska.sk regularly publishes a "joke of the day", and on Monday, 10 January, it posted the following in that column: "What kind of field do you need to plant to make sure the Cikáni don't steal from you - a potato field, a beet field, or something else? The best is a mine field."   

In its apology, the online portal says they deal with dozens of jokes and that the responsible staffer did not check the content carefully enough. "We immediately deleted the joke and we will avoid such errors in the future. Naturally it was not our intention to offend anybody and we fully respect all cultural and national minorities," Pluska.sk posted on Facebook.

Slovak MP Peter Pollák Jr (OĽANO), a Romani community member who chairs the Committee for Human Rights and National Minorities in the unicameral legislature, is not satisfied with that explanation, though. "To publish a racist, tasteless joke on one of the most-read news servers actually goes far beyond the line of any decency. Only a genuine ignoramus could have let such a joke be published. I am all the more amazed that it made it onto this website," he said.

"The editors may have deleted this attempted joke, but it is already living a life of its own. People have noticed it and are sharing it," the MP added. 

According to Pollák Jr, the situation is very similar to the behavior of his fellow MP Milan Mazurek, who has posted extremist status updates to social media more than once before deleting them. Mazurek usually waits until thousands of people have noticed such content and begun to share it before "correcting" it.

"Nothing of the kind can be allowed to happen. It doesn't matter whether it's intentional or not. That's why I have decided to file a complaint with the Press Council, which has been tasked exactly with protecting the ethics of journalism. I will be closely following what the editors' next moves will be with respect to the person responsible and I expect them to take steps against that person that are vigorous! There is no room for such 'jokes' in a decent Slovakia, after all," Pollák Jr said. 

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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antigypsyism, Racism, Slovakia, social issues



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