Thursday, 11 October 2018

Metnar not to resign over thesis, apologises for flaws in it

ČTK |
30 July 2018

Prague, July 27 (CTK) - Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) has decided not to offer his resignation to PM Andrej Babis (ANO) over his disputed university thesis, he told a press conference on Friday, apologising for flaws in the thesis but saying it was no plagiarism.

Metnar apologised to the public and also to the author of a book from which he cited in his thesis without marking the given parts as citations.

He referred to the fresh analysis of his thesis by the University of Ostrava, where he defended it in 2004.

He said he has informed Babis, now on a visit to Austria, about the situation by phone.

Released earlier on Friday, the university analysis of Metnar's thesis showed that it is no deliberate plagiarism and that Metnar only did not quote sources properly in it.

Babis told CTK that he can see no reason for Metnar to resign as defence minister because the university and experts confirmed that his thesis was no plagiarism.

"Mr Metnar should have done better work with his quotations, but experts agree that his thesis is no plagiarism. This is enough for me. I believe he should not leave his post," Babis said.

The check of Metnar's text proves insufficient work with the cited sources, primarily the absence do references to a book by Petr Musilek, current Deputy Rector of the University of Economics (VSE) in Prague, the university spokesman Adam Soustruznik told CTK.

"However, this book is duly included in the list of used literature," he said, adding that the thesis still should have had a higher quality.

At the press conference on Friday, Metnar emphasised that he had included the cited sources in the list of used literature at the end of his thesis, which is why it is no plagiarism.

"It definitively was not my intention to cheat," he said.

He said he made a mistake 14 years ago, is sorry about it and apologises for it now.

Metnar said he also had his thesis checked by the Czech Police Academy, and that all the expert opinions, worked out by the Police Academy, the University of Ostrava as well as VSE specialist Jan Mach, agreed that his thesis is no plagiarism.

"After assessing the situation and all available information, which have presented now, I have decided not to offer my resignation [as defence minister] to the prime minister," Metnar told journalists.

The Defence Ministry has released the text of the Police Academy's expert opinion to media.

Like the Ostrava University, the Police Academy calls the unmarked citations a flaw, but says the thesis is no plagiarism.

"The student did not conceal the sources he used. The thesis has partial shortcomings..., which could have been removed before its definitive completion and which are to blame not only on the student but also on his supervisor [from among the university staff]," says the expert opinion signed by Frantisek Hrebik, the Police Academy's pro-rector for foreign relations.

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.

Flaws in his thesis from 2004 were highlighted by public Czech Television (CT) on Tuesday.

In the past two weeks, two other ministers of the Babis cabinet, which was appointed on June 27, resigned over plagiarism in their theses. They were Tatana Mala (ANO) and labour and Petr Krcal (Social Democrats, CSSD), who stepped down as justice and labour minister, respectively.

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