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Swiss mag in racism row over Roma child shooter

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Swiss mag in racism row over Roma child shooter
Die Weltwoche Screenshot
12:44 CEST+02:00

Swiss news magazine Weltwoche is facing angry accusations of racism in the German-speaking world after publishing a front page picture of a gun-toting child with a headline that warns of a looming Roma crime wave.

Switzerland's Federal Commission against Racism is considering whether to take action against the magazine after a number of complaints were filed for the alleged violation of anti-racism laws. 

In its latest edition, the magazine's cover features a small child pointing a gun at the reader, with the caption, “The Roma are coming: Plunder in Switzerland”.

Reacting to what they view as flagrant racism, readers in Switzerland, Austria and Germany have all been in contact with the relevant authorities to report the magazine for inciting hatred. 

In an open letter, Switzerland's Young Greens have accused the magazine of being “wildly off the mark" by appearing to equate the Roma people with criminality. 

“It is hurtful and demeaning,” the letter concluded.

An Austrian journalist, Klaus Kamolz, has accused the magazine of inciting racial hatred, while a Swiss woman from Basel Land has claimed that the publication breaches Swiss anti-racism laws. A lawsuit has also been instigated in Germany, Tages Anzeiger reported.

But Weltwoche deputy editor and article co-author, Philipp Gut, said he does not understand the furious reaction.

“Roma bands use their children for criminal purposes," he said. "The real scandal is that none of those who are outraged are doing anything about this abuse.”

The controversial picture was taken by Italian photographer, Livio Mancini, in 2008 at a rubbish dump in Kosovo. The image was obtained through an agency and he had no control over its use, he told Tages Anzeiger.

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