Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Babis not to demand Minister Metnar's resignation for his thesis

ČTK |
26 July 2018

Prague, July 25 (CTK) - Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) will not demand resignation from Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) over the alleged plagiarism in his university thesis as Metnar may have only made mistakes in quoting sources, Babis said on Wednesday.

He added that he had debated the matter with Metnar.

"This is not an ideal situation, but I do not view this as a problem," Babis said in a recording released to CTK by the Government Office.

Babis said that like Metnar, he was also waiting for the university's analysis of Metnar's thesis.

Metnar defended his MA thesis at the Faculty of Education of the University of Ostrava, north Moravia, in 2004.

The Ostrava University will comment on the quality of his thesis by Friday, Rector Jan Lata said on Wednesday.

"From what I have read about it, his thesis is no plagiarism on which experts agree as well, because he included the used literature in the sources. Yes, he should have marked the quotations," Babis wrote to CTK later.

This case differs from the plagiarism affairs of another two ministers as Metnar included the list of the sources in his thesis, Babis said.

Justice minister Tatana Mala (ANO) and labour minister Petr Krcal (Social Democrats, CSSD) resigned from the coalition government of Babis's ANO and the CSSD over suspicions of plagiarism in their university theses recently.

The public Czech Television (CT) reported on Tuesday that Metnar had not properly quoted all sources listed in his thesis from 2004.

Metnar announced that he would comment on the case by the end of the week.

Metnar graduated from the higher police school of the Interior Ministry and later, while at work, he studied at the Ostrava University's Faculty of Education, gaining a MA degree.

CT said his thesis included a list of the used sources, but there were only very few direct references to them in the text, while some pages were completely copied from another book or their text was just slightly modified without clear references to the source.

Metnar did not rule out his resignation if the plagiarism suspicion were confirmed.

Ostrava university spokesman Adam Soustruznik said the university representatives must first study an expert opinion on Metnar's thesis.

IT expert Jan Mach, from Prague's University of Economics (VSE), who is assessing the authenticity level of university theses, told CTK on Wednesday that Metnar's thesis only existed in a printed version and this is why it cannot be checked by the software revealing plagiarism.

Mach says Metnar's thesis cannot be called plagiarism in the sense of the works by Mala and Krcal as Metnar only had not worked with his sources properly.

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