- June 26, 2012
Komar: Insulting Poles and Jews is not perceived as a bad tone
Dainius Radzevičius, the head of the Lithuanian Journalists’ Union, admitted on Facebook that while he was reading the information about insulting Ukrainians by scandalous publicists Jakub Wojewodzki and Michal Figurski, a Lithuanian home production “Dviračio žinios” came to his mind. According to Radzevičius, making fun of the Poles in this program is close to offending the Polish minority in Lithuania.
The authors of this satirical program defend themselves by claiming that they only mock politicians of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, not the local Poles. However, Dainius Radzevičius stresses that it isn’t always emphasized that the subject of their jokes are the EAPL politicians. He claims that these jokes affect the perception of Poles in the society, and admits that he heard unsophisticated jokes about the Poles in the “Dviračio žinios” style.
Polish Media Ethic Council found Wojewodzki and Figurski’s expressions as a sign of “xenophobia, blatant rudeness and typical hate speech”; both men lost their program. The Media Ethics Council’s response impressed the head of the Journalists’ Union; Dainius Radzevičius notes that nobody is likely to apologize for broadcasting similar jokes in Lithuania.
“In the Lithuanian media, not only in satirical programs, insulting Poles, Jews and other minorities often isn’t even perceived as a sign of a bad tone; even the other way around, it is sometimes seen as a good form suiting the editorial line. Just to recall one of the journals, which sees conspiracies everywhere, the Polish conspiracy against Lithuania among others. A few years ago, after an aggressive publication, I tried to report the fact of insulting the Poles to the inspector of media ethics; he said that he saw no offensive expression there and added that if I see these expressions as offensive, I should write an appropriate complaint, which will be considered by the ethics council. I didn’t write the complaint because I felt that the decision was already taken. Of course, there is still a question of online comments, but it’s a completely different topic. The Internet is anonymous; even if one exists there by their name, it’s possible to stay hidden successfully within numerous comments.”
Journalists, editors and authors of programs are another problem; Dainius Radzevičius admits that they have a considerable impact on shaping opinion within the society. Higher standards of evaluation should be applied here, but they won’t do everything. The social sensitivity is still the most important issue – it is still too low in Lithuania. It’s why one can still find some unsophisticated attacks on Lithuania’s Poles in the media.
Tłumaczenie Ewelina Zarembska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Ewelina Zarembska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.