Slovakia: Roma in Domestic Media

From: MINELRES moderator <>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 19:06:35 +0300 (EEST)
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Subject: Slovakia: Roma in Domestic Media

From: MINELRES moderator <>

Original sender: Ariel Eliyahu <>

Slovakia: Roma in Domestic Media

Between 1999 and 2000, coverage of the Roma in Slovakia's periodical
press experienced a renaissance, while simultaneously showing signs of
pluralism. Although coverage of the Romany issue continues to be
problematic, more press are now focusing on the minority. The Culture
Ministry extends financial subsidies to six Romany periodicals, in
1999 allocating a total of 4,449,000 Slovak crowns for this purpose.
The most respected Romany periodical in Slovakia is Romano ?il Nevo,
which has been published in the eastern Slovak town of Pre?ov since
1991. It is officially a weekly, but is actually published only
occasionally. It has a circulation of 8,500 and its editor-in-chief,
Daniela ?ilanov?-Hive?ov?, is a Slovak writer of Romany fairy tales.
In total, only six issues of Romano ?il Nevo were published between
the summer of 1999 and October 2000, due mostly to lack of funds and
the irregularity of subsidies from the Culture Ministry. The 1993
Radio and Television Broadcasting Law allows public media to "produce
and commission the production of [...] broadcasts which preserve and
develop the cultural identity [...] of ethnic minorities and ethnic
groups living in the Slovak Republic". A specialized news review
focused on the Roma called Romale is broadcast once a month by the
public Slovak Television (STV). From 1999 to 2000, there were no
problems with the regularity of broadcasting, nor did we see sloppy or
anti-Romany editions of the Romale news review as had sometimes
occurred in previous years. Radio broadcasting for the Roma is
produced nationwide by the Ethnic Broadcasting Office of the Pre?ov
studio of public Slovak Radio. Its weekly radio broadcast, called O
Roma vakeren - Hovoria R?movia, features 20 minutes of news and
information on Roma culture. The Bansk? Bystrica studio of Slovak
Radio provides religious broadcasting for the Roma through its program
Balvajeskere ?have. Between January and December 1999, the first
annual Preparatory Course for Romany Journalists in Slovakia was
jointly organized by the Centre of Independent Journalism and the
InfoRoma foundation. The main objective of the project is to give
young Roma access to print and electronic media. Eight graduates of
the course's first year completed a study visit to Slovakia's most
prestigious media, and upon graduation most went on to work for local
television stations. In 2000, the course successfully completed its
second year. While Slovakia intensified its efforts to join the EU,
there was a dramatic growth in coverage of the Roma issue by Slovak
media which, besides news reports, began producing analyses, expert
articles and features on the issue. The sudden wave of migrations by
Slovak Roma to EU states had a significant impact on the frequency of
news about the Roma in Slovak media. An analysis by the Slovak
Helsinki Committee in 2000 suggested a direct connection between
reporting on the Romany migration and on the introduction of visa
requirements for Slovaks by various EU member states. The independent
civil society association MEMO 98 monitored the main evening news
programmes of the three most influential Slovak TV stations - the
private TV Mark?za, the public Slovak Television (STV), and the
private TV Luna - from November 27, 1999 until February 28, 2000. The
results suggest that Romany asylum seekers ranked among the five most
important themes covered by Luna and STV. The survey also monitored
the time devoted to particular ethnic minorities by selected Slovak
media between January 1 and March 31, 2000, and delivered an
astonishing conclusion: while the time devoted to the Roma by
Slovakia's five most influential electronic media totaled 3 hours, 19
minutes and 2 seconds, the time devoted to the Hungarian minority was
only 7 minutes and 46 seconds; the Ruthenian minority received 1
minute and 33 seconds of coverage; the Czech, Polish, and Ukrainian
minorities were not given any broadcasting time at all. In percentage
terms, only 4.68% of screen time at the country's five most
influential electronic media went to ethnic minorities in Slovakia;
95.32% of that time concerned the Roma.
- Excerpted from the chapter on Roma written by Michal Va?e?ka in
Slovakia 2000: A Global Report on the State of Society, available from
the Institute for Public Affairs, Hviezdoslavovo n?m. 17, 811 02
Bratislava, Tel. 07 5441 0744,
 The Slovak Spectator

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