Politicians condemn right-wing Czech TV election ad | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 22.05.2009
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Politicians condemn right-wing Czech TV election ad

Showing pictures of Roma families and children with slogans saying "Stop Black Racism" and "Stop Favoring Gypsies," a Czech election campaign ad has resulted in a firestorm of protest.

Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer

Premier Fischer wants the National Party banned

Czech television has pulled a political campaign ad by a far-right party that brought expressions of outrage from the Czech government and condemnation from the Council of Europe.

The National Party (NS), which is vying for a seat in elections to the European Parliament on June 5 and 6, used the phrase "a final solution to the Gypsy problem" in a campaign ad that ran on Czech television on Wednesday.

"We don't like the spot much, but the law says that we must not reject it and have to broadcast it," Czech television spokesman Ladislav Sticha said to Czech media.

The head of Czech television Jiri Janacek said the ad would not be aired again.

Prime Minister Jan Fischer has called for banning the National Party, saying the ad evoked, "the [Nazis] 'final solution' of the Jewish question during World War II." Both Fischer and Human Rights Minister Michael Kocab said they considered the video illegal.

Outrage not limited to Czech Republic

Council of Europe Secretary General

Terry Davis has called for a ban

In Strasbourg, the head of the Council of Europe expressed his outrage.

"The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to the freedom of expression, but the convention also sets limits. Personally, I believe that a call for 'final solution to the Gypsy issue' falls well outside these limits," said Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis in a statement posted on the body's website.

In seeking to ban the National Party, Prime Minister Fischer has asked Interior Minister Martin Pecna to act immediately.

There have been a number of right-wing marches and attacks on the Roma minority in the Czech Republic in recent weeks.

av/Reuters/AFP
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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