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Martin Votruba

 

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The sources of a misquotation on the 2009 Law on Language

 

(Back to Materials on Laws on Language in Slovakia.)

 

2009.07.14 Lajos Bokros, Member of the European Parliament for the Hungarian Democratic Forum (Magyar Demokrata Fórum), writes a letter to his Slovak fellow-MEPs. It is critical of Slovakia's Law on Language passed on 30 June 2009.

The second paragraph of the letter by Lajos Bokros includes the sentence:
— "A kirekesztő törvény ugyanis nemcsak a magyarságot, de az európai integráció szellemiségét és a demokrácia eszméjét is alapjaiban sérti."
— (The restrictive law does not harm only the Hungarians, but also substantially impairs the spirit of European integration and the ideal of democracy.)
Link to letter.
2009.07.15 Lajos Bokros gives a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, during which, among other things, he highlights that sentence.  
 

Bokros's press conference, letter, and quotation are reported by:

  • The Hungarian press agency MTI — "Bokros levélben tiltakozott a szlovák EP-képviselőknél a nyelvtörvény ellen." MTI, 15 July 2009, 15:50.
  • His party's press service — "Bokros Lajos tiltakozik a szlovák nyelvtörvény miatt." MDF Sajtó, 15 July 2009.
  • The Slovak press agency TASR with the quotation somewhat abbreviated and altered — Monika Poláková, "EÚ: V EP sa ozvala kritika na adresu slovenského jazykového zákona." TASR, 15 July 2009, 16:25.
    — "Tento zákon škodí nielen Maďarom, ale aj duchu európskej integrácie a principiálnym ideám demokracie."
    — (This law harms not only the Hungarians, but also the spirit of European integration and the principal ideas of democracy.)
 
2009.07.16 Lajos Bokros's press conference, letter, and quotation are reported by the Hungarian EU news source BruxInfo — "Magyar EP-képviselők felszólalása a szlovák nyelvtörvény ellen." BruxInfo EU újság, 16 July 2009.

 

2009.07.17 Sme, Bratislava, Slovakia

A popular columnist in the Slovak newspaper Sme misattributes the abbreviated quotation provided by TASR to the freshly elected President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek, and Sme's commonly sloppy or absent fact-checking allows it to go to print — Marián Leško, "Medzinárodne škodí vláde najviac minister Maďarič." Sme, 16 July 2009.

At least five international newspapers remain equally oblivious of source checking and copy the mistake (Hospodářské noviny, Pravda, Pražský deník, Le Monde, Gazeta Wyborcza):
 
2009.07.20 Hospodářské noviny, Prague, Czech Republic

The abbreviated quotation misattributed to Buzek is lifted without any reference from Sme by its Bratislava correspondentRenata Havranová, "Nespisovná slovenština až za pět tisíc eur." Hospodářské noviny, 20 July 2009.
 
2009.07.21 Pravda, Bratislava, Slovakia; and Pražský deník, Prague, Czech Republic

The abbreviated quotation misattributed to Buzek is lifted without any reference from either Sme, or the Czech daily:
— by the Slovak newspaper Pravda — dia, ik, "Maďaričov odkaz Maďarsku: Ste 200 rokov pozadu." Pravda, 21 July 2009.
— by the Czech newspaper Pražský deník — Jan Horký, "Jazykový zákon: za 'fast food' stotisícová pokuta." Pražský deník, 21 July 2009.
 
2009.07.25 Le Monde, Paris, France

The abbreviated quotation misattributed to Buzek is lifted, probably from one of the Czech newspapers, without any reference by its Prague correspondent — Fabrice Martin-Plichta, "La Slovaquie provoque les Hongrois en interdisant les langues minoritaires." Le Monde, 25 July 2009.
 
2009.07.27 Gazeta Wyborcza, Warsaw, Poland

The abbreviated quotation misattributed to Buzek is misreported as his direct statement in an interview with Le Monde, which never took place, by the Polish newspaper's web spin-off — [Anon.], "Jerzy Buzek ostro wziął się do roboty." PolitBiuro.Gazeta.PL, 27 July 2009, and readers are asked to discuss whether "Buzek's" blunt comment was appropriate.
 
2009.09.01 Gazeta Wyborcza, Warsaw, Poland

The abbreviated quotation misattributed to Buzek is misreported as his direct statement in an interview with Le Monde, which never took place — Jacek Pawlicki, "Węgier ma mówić po słowacku." Gazeta Wyborcza, 1 Sept. 2009.
 

 

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