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Daily Mail runs story on Košice’s Lunik IX slum

THE DAILY Mail has noticed Slovakia’s infamous city ghetto, an urban version of eastern Slovakia’s numerous socially excluded Roma communities.

THE DAILY Mail has noticed Slovakia’s infamous city ghetto, an urban version of eastern Slovakia’s numerous socially excluded Roma communities.

The British tabloid newspaper ran a story on its website on November 3 under the title ‘Slumdogs of Slovakia: This city was given £51million when it was named European capital of culture... so why are Roma children still living in such horrifying squalor?’.

The story places the poor conditions in which the city’s Roma inhabitants of the infamous Lunik IX neighbourhood live in the context of Košice’s Capital of Culture 2013 project, which the newspaper writes received funding worth £51million (€60 million) “to improve the country's infrastructure”.

The Daily Mail ran the story complete with pictures showing children covered in mud and playing in rubbish, and the living conditions of the Lunik IX inhabitants, many of whom live without running water, electricity and gas.

“Some reports have suggested that the level of rubbish in the area has led to many water sources turning toxic - a problem that is beginning to affect the rest of the city and not just the Roma suburb,” the daily writes.

The city of Košice responded to the article by calling it “an example of journalistic amateurism”. The journalist used pictures from several sources, did not ask the municipality to comment, did not ask the inhabitants of the city about their opinions, and did not check her facts, the city’s spokesperson Martina Urik Viktorínová told the Sme daily.

“All in all her story is full of factual mistakes and we are considering taking legal steps for the false alarm about the intoxicated water being a threat to the entire city,” the spokesperson told Sme. She went to ask whether anybody could suppose that the €60 million from the EU that they used for the transformation of the city, the construction of cultural institutions, and reconstruction of parks, should instead have been used for flats and cleaning of Lunik IX.

Source: dailymail.co.uk, sme.sk

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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