Romani Rose, Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, contacted the editors of the German newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (short FAZ) demanding an appropriate public clarification and apology for the following prime example of antigypsyist media coverage:
In the beginning of November, the FAZ had published the article “Fighting environmental crime more effectively” (“Umweltkriminalität wirksamer bekämpfen“) by Atja Gelinsky (on 1 November 2022 online, on 2 November 2022 in print). An undated photo (Wolfgang Eilmes) was used to illustrate the report, showing a pile of rubbish in the Gutleut Street in Frankfurt. The caption directs the focus of this entire report to the Roma minority. However, the photo bears no relation to the text next to it. This article is about “exploitation, pollution and destruction of nature” – issues causing billions of dollars of damage internationally.
Romani Rose, Chairman of the Central Council, expresses his concerns in a letter to the editors: “This illustration is shocking and bewildering. The article covers a global crime – and the choice of image conveys that the Roma minority is involved in these environmental crimes through street waste. This visual insinuation stirs up aggression against a minority population, equates it with delinquency and offers our society an easily identifiable scapegoat. Deep-rooted antigypsyism is continuously handed down and passed on – and is given new impetus by the FAZ.”
Romani Rose demands not only an immediate removal of the photo from the online edition of the FAZ article, but also an appropriate public clarification, an apology and open dialogue, so that such antigypsyism has no part in media reporting in the future.
Central Council Chairman Rose views the editors of the FAZ as responsible: “The FAZ has to also be aware of its constitutional and historical responsibility towards the Sinti and Roma. The FAZ resolutely denounced antisemitism at the recent “Documenta”. I expect the same when it comes to antigypsyism, especially from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.”