Government tackles anti-Ukrainian disinformation in Roma communities

Following recent Ukrainian-Roma tensions in Czechia, the government will focus on fact-based methods to end potential conflicts.


Written by ČTK Published on 21.07.2023 11:17:00 (updated on 21.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Following recent incidents between the Roma and Ukrainian communities in Czechia, the government is taking decisive action to combat anti-Ukrainian disinformation and prevent further conflicts, according to Czech Government Commissioner for Roma Affairs Lucie Fuková.

A newly formed group of experts from ministries and non-governmental organizations will spearhead efforts to tackle disinformation targeting the Roma community. Another team will draft guidelines for municipalities to de-escalate potential conflicts, Fuková said during a press conference this week following a meeting of representatives from various ministries, local governments, and NGOs.

Tensions have flared following death of Roma man

The recent tensions flared after Roma held rallies in areas where Ukrainians reside following a tragic incident in Brno, where a young Roma man lost his life during a skirmish. The attacker is said to be of Ukrainian origin, and the police are actively investigating the case.

The situation in the Roma community is currently being assessed through a comprehensive mapping exercise. The results of this evaluation are expected to be available in approximately three weeks, providing crucial insights into the needs and challenges faced by the Roma community in the Czech Republic.

Fuková stressed the importance of involving local Roma representatives in decision-making processes within their own communities. The objective is to empower trustworthy leaders who have a history of actively engaging with the community and possess a strong voice. This approach fosters dialogue and ensures that the solutions generated are tailored to the specific needs and concerns of the affected communities.

To address potential incidents in localities, the Regional Development Ministry will develop a plan for town halls to effectively manage and defuse tense situations. The aim is to maintain peace and security while promoting open dialogue between different groups.

A focus on information based on facts

In light of the recent events, both the commissioner and representatives of Roma organizations are calling for calm, careful consideration, and verification of information before making judgments or accusations. Hate speech and collective guilt principles are strongly discouraged, as these only exacerbate tensions and undermine efforts toward harmonious coexistence.

Fuková emphasized that the incidents witnessed during demonstrations are not representative of the entire Roma community. She believes that only a minority of individuals are involved in such actions. Encouraging understanding and empathy, she calls for the broader recognition of the diverse voices and perspectives within the Roma community.

As the Czech Government implements these proactive measures, it is hoped that they will foster greater understanding, reduce tensions, and promote peaceful coexistence among the Roma and Ukrainian communities. By addressing misinformation, involving local Roma leaders, and supporting dialogue-driven approaches, the government aims to build a more inclusive and harmonious society for all.

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