The euroAWK advertising company has already covered all the 29 billboards rented by the Slovak National Party (SNS) that had a photo and message that critics said provokes racial intolerance, the TASR newswire was told on May 6 by Peter Jančarik, who spoke on behalf of euroAWK.
“This doesn't mean, however, that the public won't come across these billboards, as they can be placed in the advertising spaces of other billboard companies, in spaces that don't belong to euroAWK,” he said.
The SNS billboard campaign aroused strong feelings among politicians and NGOs. The Union of Roma in Slovakia labelled it disgusting and is demanding that SNS should apologise to the Roma minority. It is also considering filing a criminal complaint. Ondrej Dostál from non-parliamentary party OKS has done this already.
SNS parliamentary caucus leader Rafael Rafaj views the decision to cover the billboards as “an inappropriate and unjustified intervention in our rights.” He said he is confident that SNS's lawyers will be able to deal with any legal action.
The man featured on the Slovak National Party's (SNS) billboards does not have Roma but Slovak nationality, said SNS vice-chair Anna Belousovová at a press conference on May 6, asking how SNS's critics know that he is Roma.
SNS views the covering of the billboards as hypocritical and wants to cover the spaces with a notice marked 'censored', said Belousovová. “The Slovak National Party is being censored by a German company,” she stressed, adding that SNS is considering filing a criminal complaint. “We're just telling it the way it is,” said Belousovova, claiming that the only racists are those who automatically see a Roma man on the billboard.
According to Belousovová, the Prosecutor-General should take action against the ethnic-Hungarian SMK party instead of SNS. SMK has launched its billboard campaign in the Hungarian language only, which is at odds with the recently-approved State Language Act.
Asked by journalists why SNS has not resolved the Roma issue while in government for four years, Belousovova argued that SNS did not control any ministry crucial for doing so. SNS currently has two ministries under its remit - the Education Ministry and Construction and Regional Development Ministry.
For more info, please read Racist SNS billboards covered up .
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
7. May 2010 at 10:00