Anti-Romani news on Latvian television
11 July 2000
On June 4, 2000, the Latvian daily TV news program "Panorama" reported on a Romani woman who had swindled family jewels from a seventeen-year-old non-Romani girl. Authors of the news item warned the public "not to look into the eyes of the Roma" in order not to be hypnotised. At the end of the program, a police officer called on all Roma in Latvia to return the jewels. The non-governmental organisation Cultural Association of Roma and the Latvian Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights and Public Affairs protested actively against the news piece. The Prosecutor's Office received a request to bring an action against the TV program according to Criminal Code Article 78(2), for infringement of equality of rights on the basis of racial or ethnic origin. The Consultative Council attached to the National Human Rights Office subsequently held a meeting to discuss the case, and criticised the program for provoking ethnic hostility. The Council decided that "Panorama" should run some programs devoted specifically to the cultural traditions of the Romani people in Latvia. According to the Latvian Human Rights Committee, no legal action has been filed.
(Latvian Human Rights Committee)