From The Manufacture of Hatred
Translation of a transcription of the Czech-language original. (The colloquial nature of the language used has been preserved – Editors)
FTV Prima Chief News Editor Jitka Obzinová: So we won’t keep the entire newsroom from its work long we’re gonna say some general stuff here and then I’ll ask the people working on the refugee issue to come up to the second floor with us for a more concrete meeting, including the producers.
Voice of a female reporter: I’m interested too.
Obzinová: Whoever’s interested, plus the people immediately concerned, on the second floor. Plus the people who have done this occasionally, like Daniel, Filip, Patrik, the producers, naturally the foreign correspondents. Plus the people who are, like, interested. I’m not calling today’s meeting just because of the refugees. I’d like to thank the people from the Top Star segment and congratulate them on their very successful pilot yesterday, it turned out well, everything looked perfect. I think the music was ultimately good too. I really congratulate you, it turned out well, and I hope that that the premiere of Top Star as such will turn out well also. That’s about yesterday. Otherwise, we also have our fellow compatriots here by teleconference. I was satisfied with yesterday, completely, you have that in the production report. We don’t have to return to that, we’ll make our plans very briefly later and then move upstairs. Why I’ve called you all here is the topic of the refugee crisis. This situation, as you well know, has developed over several months into a real crisis that we must, number one, take a position on and, number two, stick to that position somehow. I believe you all know there is a hierarchy here, that’s been reiterated more than once. I believe it’s always been the case that editors and reporters obey the orders of broadcast management. You all know very well that the custom here is that the editor is God, and you cannot argue with God. I would be glad if last Friday’s deviation from this rule, when there was an argument here between the editor, the producer, and several reporters that resulted in what I’d call an imprecise broadcast – I’d be glad if that never happened again. I must be absolutely harsh in my position on this. My offer to those who will not take direction from the producers is that you do not have to work here. That’s the only possible way out. We are all employees here, we have an employer who has taken a certain position on this. If I, as head of broadcasting, accept that, then you will simply obey the orders of the head of broadcasting. If not, then basically you are not not accepting what it means to be employed here, and that means there is no point in employing you further. It sounds harsh, but you all know that once in a while we have conflicts here, and sometimes we must revisit them. This is a very serious situation. At the general level, I gave you all an article to read, one to which I fully subscribe. Did all of you read it? Do you all know what it is I’m talking about? I believe that article captures the position of the management of this television station. I see it exactly the same way, and I want us to take a stance on the refugee crisis in that way. Why am I a convening a meeting about this? Because there is a historical development happening that apparently will be so extensive that it’s necessary to simply explain this position. Because to tell you the truth, those of us in this room did not experience either the Second World War, nor ’68, nor, for example, the enormity of a conflict similar to the creation of the state of Israel, situations where it is absolutely clear that the public just spent a long time searching for its position. Now this refugee crisis is beginning to acquire the kind of dimensions in which it is clear that society, the media, and the individual media outlets will probably take a stance on it, and as far as our television station is concerned, I want to take one. So that means that at the general level, I have to say it will be necessary for you all to accept this.
Vice-Chair of the board of FTV Prima Holding, Luboš Jetmar: I’ve come here to chat with you all about this as well. We’re repeating the term refugee crisis… [inaudible]… Jitka and I agreed that she’d give you that article to read. In my opinion it is brilliantly written and unequivocally …
Voice from the teleconference: If you could speak up, we can’t hear you on the telephone, thanks.
Jetmar: … I’ll try to be louder. It unequivocally describes that this could be the beginning of the end. We may not be aware of this today…
Obzinová: The compatriots have the article in their e-mail.
Jetmar:… we’re not absolutely aware of all the consequences. However, I am aware, or we are aware, of one thing. You are working in the newsroom of a television channel that is a rather influential, strong media outlet and we influence majority opinion in this country. We have a situation here, if we look at the polls, in which the majority opinion apparently exists, but naturally there are people among us who are proud of having a different opinion than the majority one. I don’t at all want to take that away from anybody, I am also basically a humanist. Nevertheless, I don’t know who among you has ever lived in an Arab country. I have [inaudible]. As far as I am aware, Jitka has been to Somalia and I have been [inaudible]. If you experience it for yourself, then you ascertain that you basically can talk about our values, about democracy and stuff like that, for as long as you want, but because the development there has been different, and those millenia of ancestral and tribal traditions, their stance toward [inaudible] male and female sex is absolutely different. They just don’t grasp what we say to them. Either they don’t want to grasp it, or they don’t grasp it. Now I’m speaking from my own experience, from the interviews we did there. They mainly insist that their values are correct. They’re not willing to accept that ours exist [inaudible]. What is happening now is… in Libya a million other refugees are waiting for somebody to bring them to Europe. Once they are here and once there are a lot of them, then they will have the tendency to actually, really advocate for their truth, their vision of the world, their religion, their rules. To tell you the truth, I don’t know if any of you would want to live to see that – I don’t know how old your children are, but I have a nine-year-old girl, and I wouldn’t want her to have to wear a burka in 20 years, once she’s 30, and to have no rights whatsoever. I really don’t. Naturally, I’m aware that the refugees who are [inaudible] are victims and we should aid them. However, on the other hand, what is in that article is also true, that the state is not fulfilling its function, and the state is here to defend its borders and protect [inaudible]. At this moment, that is what the European Union should do and protect Schengen. However, we’re just concerned that there can be a much bigger problem arising from this than we are aware of today. For the time being there are a couple hundred thousand of them here, maybe a million, I don’t know, but in the moment when there will be many of them here, then they actually won’t respect our rules. You all know yourselves that if you go to Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t exist that you’d go outside without covering your face. That’s what they will advocate here. They will want us to [inaudible]. That means… I’ll end here, let’s go into the conference room and let’s talk about it a bit more. You will all naturally get room to say something about this, but I would be very glad if we as a television channel could create a shared opinion on this issue and respect it.
Obzinová: So once more, just to repeat, the position of the management of this television station determines your work. These are rules that it would simply be good for us to revive here. The producers are guided by this position and the editors take direction from the producers and do not project their personal opinions into the broadcasts, yeah? That’s, like, the most essential thing we wanted to say here. We’ll now move to the concrete meeting about concrete matters.