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LN: Online hatred for Czech Roma growing

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Prague, Dec 6 (CTK) – Some 80 percent of the contributions speaking about Czech Romanies and posted online were negative last year, while in 2014, the proportion was only 65 percent, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday, citing the data collected in a survey commissioned for the Hate Free Culture group.
“In 2015 and 2016, the media attention devoted to Romanies was pushed down by the focus on Muslims and refugees, but, at the same time, the emotions are more negative than before,” analyst Petr Kucera has told the paper.
The comments on Romanies are often negative stereotypes that are produced not only by the mainstream public, but also some politicians and journalists, it adds.
Positive responses often come only from Romanies themselves, some institutions and activists, or the academic environment, LN writes.
In general, positive contributions are all but lacked in online discussions, it adds.
Unemployment, crime and parasitism, these are the notions most often associated with ethnic Romanies on the Czech Internet, LN writes.
They most often appear in discussions under online articles, on social networks and on webpages, it adds.
The results of the survey are sad, LN writes.
“Analyses by the Yeseter company have revealed that unlike Muslims and refugees who are the current focus of online discussions, few if any people defend Romanies,” Lukas Houdek, from the Hate Free Culture that combats hatred of minorities, is quoted as saying.
“This is why the findings are so negative,” he added.
This turned out in connection with a recent scandal. The rock group Ortel won the second place in the category of bands in the Golden Nightingale poll for the best singers in the Czech Republic.
At the ceremony, Romany musician Patrik Banga booed it and walked out of the room in protest because of what he called its open racism.
Over 6,000 comments, most of them hateful, were soon sent to his Facebook profile, LN writes.
“Go to gas,” this was one of the messages he received, it adds.
Houdek said this event had shown that the hatred of Romanies had only lessened seemingly.
“In the reality, the discussions are still common and they are often very heated,” he added.
“It has turned out that a number of people are ready to plead for Adolf Hitler and send some groups of people to the gas, using their own names,” Houdek said.
“This is shocking,” he added.
The incitement for racial and ethnic hatred is punishable with 12 months to five years in prison in the Czech Republic, LN writes.
However, there are quite few cases that are really tried in court, it adds.
The number of Romanies is estimated at 226,300 in the Czech Republic, which is about 2 percent of the population, and half of them are living in social exclusion, according to the annual report on the Romany minority published in mid-year.

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