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Czech minorities to receive minority-language radio,TV broadcasts

Prague, 12.4.2007 18:42, (CTK)

Czech ethnic minority language radio and television broadcasts could be expanded in the future in the Czech regions in which a large part of the Polish or Slovak minorities lives, chairwoman of the government council for ethnic minorities minister Dzamila Stehlikova said after the first meeting of the council today.

She said that the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages that has been valid in the Czech Republic since March guarantees the expansion of the minority-language broadcasts.

"We have discussed minority-language broadcasts and there is naturally the will to expand them," she said.

The European Charter guarantees to minorities bi-lingual signs, the use of minority languages in public life, minority-language radio and TV broadcasts and minority-language education.

This concerns the use of the Slovak language on all the Czech territory and the Polish language in the Moravian and Silesian region in the places in which Poles make up more than one-tenth of the population.

Stehlikova said that it would depend on concrete initiatives by minorities and the approach by the radio and TV stations whether and to what extent the native-language broadcasts will be expanded.

The council today also discussed the Wednesday Romany demonstration outside the Government Office at which more than one hundred of participants demanded the resignation of Deputy PM and Local Development Minister Jiri Cunek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) from the government.

Cunek recently spoke about Romanies as about "sunburnt people who make mess with their family and put up fires in the square."

For months, Cunek has faced criticism over his decision, in his former capacity as mayor of Vsetin, north Moravia, to evict dozens of Romany families from a dilapidating house to container-like flats on the town outskirts and some even to other Moravian regions.

Romany activists, the opposition and the junior governing Green Party want him to leave the government.

Stehlikova said that the council would discuss the demand for Cunek's resignation at its extraordinary meeting on April 19.

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