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Czech band backed by extremists succeeds in music contest

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Prague, Nov 29 (CTK) – The Ortel music band that has supporters also also among far-right groups scored a success in the Czech Nightingale pop music contest, in which the band or singer with the highest number of votes from the public wins and whose winners were ceremonially announced on Saturday night.

Ortel was the second most popular band in the 50th Czech Nightingale this year and its frontman Tomas Ortel was the third most successful singer in the men´s category.

The band has lots of supporters in Internet discussions as well as many opponents who recommended that it be excluded from the contest.

Tomas Ortel said the criticism of his band was an malevolent campaign. The fans wanted the band to succeed also in reaction to such slander, he told CTK.

He said many club owners distanced themselves from the band because they were afraid of the open way it presented its views. But the worst thing was that even the band´s fans were labelled xenophobic and racist by some people, Tomas Ortel said.

“I am neither a spokesman nor a politician. I am just a singer and song-writer,” he said.

However, Ortel is supported by the extreme right-wing. Its song Hadr (Rag) became the hymn of the now banned far-right Workers´ Party. The successor Workers´ Party of Social Justice (DSSS) congratulated the band on the success in the Golden Nightingale on its website. The DSSS expressed hope that Ortel would win next year.

The far-right grouping National democracy of Adam B. Bartos called on its sympathisers to support Ortel in the contest with their votes.

Miroslav Mares, an expert in extremism, said Ortel was highly controversial, yet it was not a group that could be called an extremist music band.

Josef Martinek writes on the server that Ortel certainly has not won votes thanks to its music qualities. The music is very poor and the texts seem rather stupid, he says.

“The band´s texts simply hit the present mood in society and they use the most manipulative means of all – fear,” Martinek writes.

He noted that Tomas Ortel had been a member of the Conflict 88 band that openly declared its neo-Nazi ideology.

The Czech Nightingale confirmed once again that it offered poor music, but this time it presented a populist condemning Islam, Martinek said, referring to Tomas Ortel.

The Musica Bohemica agency, which organises the Czech nightingale contest, said it would check whether the voting was according to the rules. The organisers admitted that the opinions presented by some performers were controversial, but they concluded that found no reason to intervene.

Two years ago, rapper Reznik was excluded from the contest in the Internet Star category because of his vulgar texts and violent presentation. This was criticised by several musicians then.

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