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Media reports lack Roma opinions

MOST stories published about the Roma minority are related to criminality or extremism and lack any views expressed by the Roma, according to a survey conducted by Newton Media, a media monitoring agency. Positive reports about the Roma in the media made up just 10 percent of all news.

MOST stories published about the Roma minority are related to criminality or extremism and lack any views expressed by the Roma, according to a survey conducted by Newton Media, a media monitoring agency. Positive reports about the Roma in the media made up just 10 percent of all news.

According to the survey, 74 percent of the stories analysed about the Roma published by newspapers or broadcast by electronic media contained no statements from Roma minority representatives.

The survey reviewed 2,600 reports between June and December 2013 and was ordered by Government Proxy for Roma Communities Peter Pollák, the Sme daily reported.

The Roma are not usually respondents for Slovak journalists, Newton Media analyst Martin Gonda told Sme.

“It is surprising that the Roma get space to describe a fight or a robbery, but just few opportunities to comment on an issue concerning the whole society as a citizen of this country,” Gonda said, as quoted by Sme.

The results of the survey were significantly affected by the election of far-right extremist Marian Kotleba as Banská Bystrica’s regional governor. The second most published media topic at the end of 2013 was related to Kotleba, who openly called the Roma “parasites”, while the most reported issue was criminality.

The state media reported about Roma criminality more often than local media. Television news networks broadcast even minor problems in their main evening news programmes, while the local media appeared not to be interested in those issues.

Braňo Oláh, a journalist and blogger for Romano Nevo Ľil, a magazine covering Roma-related topics, said that the portrayal of the Roma in the media does not mirror reality.

“It is affected by bias and mediated information, which ultimately often proves to be false or half true,” Oláh said, as quoted by Sme.

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