Phil Graham on Mon, 28 Feb 2000 00:18:16 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] FW: Censorship against Ruth Wodak (Vienna)



Interview for "Kunststöcke," on 17.2.2000, 10-11:30 am, ORF, Königlberg

I was asked to be interviewed for the TV program Kunststºcke (aired on
17.2.2000) on the topic of my extensive research over the last 15 years on
racist and anti-Semitic language use in various public settings in Austria
and 6 other EU-States. For this reason, I met with the program editor on
Monday (14.2.2000) for a pre-interview in which I presented my/our work
articles, and manuscripts) to him. The editor explained to me that a film
will be shown at the beginning, "Blue Eyes" about a psychological
experiment in the USA in which blue eyed people are discriminated against;
afterwards I was asked if I could appear as a linguist and an expert.  I
gladly accepted since I find this topic very important.

I proposed to research material from the ORF archive in order to show
specific discourse sequences from ZIB2 and parliamentary debates that I
could then analyze.  The texts that I chose were derived from already
published texts.

Specifically, the focus was on a ZIB-2 interview with Jurg Haider on October
29, 1997 on the topic of the, at the time, new FPò party program and on
various parliamentary debates on the topic of immigration. The latter has
been compared and quantitatively, and qualitatively examined with 5 other
EU-States (England, France, Holland, Spain, and Italy) in our new book
"Racism at the Top" (eds Ruth Wodak und Teun van Dijk, Drava Verlag,
Klagenfurt 2000).

On Wednesday, the editor called me up and told me that he was forbidden by
the head of the program as well as "from above' to carry out this research.
I then decided to read aloud the relevant theoretical and empirical findings
in the interview.

On Thursday, 17.2.2000, before the recording of the interview, we discussed
the sequencing of the questions and the discussion. The film was to be aired
in 2 parts, first the introduction of the film followed by the interview and
then the second part of the film. The interruption was to occur at that
point in the film in which the psyhologist was accused by parents of being a
"nigger lover."

Subsequent to this, I was supposed to analyze the term used by the parents.
I said that I would like to read out 2 quotes, one from Jurg Haider and one
from Helene Partik-Pable, who both degrade black people.  Haider used "bush
nigger" ("Every bush nigger has, in the future, the possibility of treating
his  colleagues in Austria"; [Haider on the new medical law, Der Standard,
13.10.1998]).  Partik-Pable suggested, in a parliamentary debate, that black
Africans "do not only look different, (...) but they also are different and
in fact they are extremely aggressive"; (Partik-Pable, Tiroler

At this point, the head of the program came over and explained to me that I
may not mention the names of the quoted politicians.  When I asked why this
was not possible, he responded that otherwise he would have to write 10
explanations, that these names would be edited out or that the interview
would not be allowed to be aired.

In reponse to my question "since when has science been restricted in the
ORF,?" he replied that these are explosive times and he fears for this
program. He suggested that I should say "Austrian
politicians." I refused because these kinds of statements are typical for
one of the
parties and not for all. I was determined to mention that the quality of
these statements are systematically and linguistically distinguishable from
other statements ("The boot is full" Josef Cap). We then agreed, everyone
already very nervous, on the name of the party. I was also asked to quote
statements from other parties. This I had proposed to do anyway since I
wanted to present scientific results. I briefly thought over whether I
should refuse to participate in the interview. I then decided to do it
because I thought that the topic was important and so I stayed on so that at
least a few research results could be presented.

In my many years in this profession, I have never been censored by the

For scientific work, it is of utmost importance that the sources of one's
texts are supplied (so that statements may be verified).


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