14:08, 12 April 2012
14:59, 12 April 2012
A Swiss magazine has defended
using a picture of a Roma child waving a toy gun after gypsy groups
complained that it was like 'Nazi propaganda'.Zurich weekly Weltwoche used the image to illustrate an article
that was intended to highlight the use of children to commit burglaries
and street thefts.They said
today that the front-page picture of the youngster was 'justified' and
highlighted growing 'crime tourism' in Switzerland
'Justified': A Roma child holds a toy gun in a picture used by Swiss
magazine Weltwoche that has drew complaints of racism from campaigners
But it drew harsh criticism from gypsy groups and lawsuits have been filed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Roma groups and anti-racism
campaigners have now accused the magazine of whipping up racial
prejudices against ethnic minorities in Europe.Die Weltwoche deputy editor Philipp Gut accepted that the picture had caused outrage but said it was justified.
Controversial: The weekly magazine published the article with the
accompanying picture to highlight a 'serious problem' but is now being
subjected to lawsuits
In a video message published on its
website earlier this week, Mr Gut, who is one of the co-authors of the
article, said that 'crime tourism' in Switzerland was largely carried
out by Roma gangs from Eastern Europe.He said it was a 'current and serious problem.'
The photograph of the child symbolized 'the fact that Roma gangs misuse
their children for criminal purposes,' he told the Swiss newspaper
SonntagsZeitung. The article was headlined 'They come, they steal and they go'.
It went on: 'Roma families from Eastern Europe are responsible for a large part of the increasing crime tourism.'
It used a picture supplied by an agency that was taken in 2008 by Italian photographer Livio Mancini.
He had been photographing children playing on a garbage dump at the time and the child had been fooling around with a toy gun.
The in-depth report looked at issues
such as prostitution and the use of children for begging and theft. It
conceded that now all Roma are involved in the crime tourism.
However, the piece still caused an outcry from gypsy groups. The article caused
racial incitement, according to the Central Council of German Sinti and
Roma.The Central Council
said it had made a court order to try to get the magazine blocked from
Germany and to file a complaint for racial incitement and libel.They likened the article to Nazi propaganda because 'it gave the impression that criminality was caused by ethnic origin'.
Similar court action was also under way in Austria and Switzerland, although
the upset was particularly strong in Germany where half a million
gypsies were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.Austrian
journalist Klaus Kamolz, one of the people who complained about the
article and pictures, said that he wanted to send a 'symbolic signal'
against the 'blanket condemnation of Roma as criminals.'
Peter Studer, a former president of the Swiss Press Council, said it was an 'outrageous picture' with 'racist overtones.'
Switzerland's Federal Commission against Racism (EKR) said earlier this week that the
commission would investigate the Weltwoche article.
|Liveleak on Facebook|