The Central Federation of Jewish Religious Congregations (UZ ZNO) has criticised the management of the public Slovak Television (STV) for cancelling the premiere of documentary film Love Thy Neighbour by director Dušan Hudec. Instead, STV showed a replacement program on its second channel, news wire SITA wrote.
The documentary, according to the federation, reflects a significant event in Slovak history - a pogrom that occurred after the end of the second world war, in September 1945, in the town of Topolčany (western Slovakia).
"The decision of STV director general Richard Rybníček to not show the documentary film in its authentic form is a warning signal about the present direction of the Slovak public TV," reads the statement.
According to the representatives of the federation, this move evokes worries of a possible link between Rybníček and conservative church circles in Slovakia, which, the statement claims, "do not wish to know, not even after fifty years, the truth and background of the post-war anti-Jewish pogrom in Topolčany."
"We would not like this problem to be politicised in any way," Branislav Záhradník, a member of the STV management, told SITA.
He said the reason for holding back the screening of the documentary was a statement in the piece that could violate the Broadcasting and Retransmission Act on protection of human dignity and humanity.
The statement in question was given by an inhabitant of Topolčany, who said that "Jews and Gypsies are the worst scum under the sun," and stressed that "While they are in the world, there will be no order."
"The STV management insisted on cutting this sentence out of the film, which we communicated to the director, who asked for 24 hours to consider the request," explained Záhradnik.
Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
19. May 2004 at 9:41