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Ondrej Gina jr. - Czech Television Moderator
Ondrej Gina

At the end of 1998, the first Romani news moderator appeared on Czech Television broadcasts. Dark hair, nice, bewitching eyes, a deep, pleasant voice and a natural style of presentation. Such could be the description of Ondrej Gina, who was suddenly in demand and appeared in all the Czech newspapers and magazines. Who is the first Romani television moderator?

Ondrej Gina jr was born on February 22, 1971 in Rokycany. He comes from the extended Gina line, which came to Rokycany after the war from Slovakia and whose members are among the leaders of the Roma community in Rokycany - the elder Ondrej Gina is a well-known Romani activist.

Ondrej Gina was educated as a cook, but because working in a kitchen didn't appeal to him too much, he began working as a metal roller in an ironworks. In 1992 he worked in the newly established non-governmental Romani organization The Fund for Hope and Understanding and thanks to his knowledge of the Roma movement in the Czech Republic he became a correspondent for the international Roma agency Romnews of the Roma National Congress.

In September 1998, he won a Czech Radio competition for a Romani reporter and worked as a reporter for the Radiozurnal news station until February 1999. While still a reporter at Radiozurnal, he was offered a job as a news moderator on Czech Television. At first he simply anchored the morning and evening news part-time, but eventually he decided to join Czech Television full time.

Gina lives with his wife Jana, who works as an clerk, and their son Ondrej in Rokycany.

Does Ondrej Gina feel under pressure because he is the first Rom to read the news on Czech Television?

"It forces me to keep trying and improving. I think that it helps to start slowly removing social interactions which are based on prejudice and stereotypes." (Zemske noviny February 2, 1999)

What does Onrej Gina think about the mutual coexistence of Czechs and Roma?

"We don't know how to live together yet. One community doesn't understand the other, and they don't even know each other. They're just afraid of each other. There are lots of reasons why this relationship has arisen and I wouldn't like to read too much into only one side. People must become more interested in the problem of survival together, because they are still ignoring it and Roma have already started to leave the Czech Republic." (Zemske noviny Feb. 12, 1999)

What does Ondrej Gina think about emigration?

"If I applied for asylum, I would have to have strong reasons. For example, if I was afraid for my children or felt that my country didn't guarantee me the same things as it did other citizens just because I have a different color of skin. Emigration is a decision for each individual. I don't want to emigrate. On the other hand, I can understand those who've emigrated, because I know what they go through." (Zemske noviny Feb. 12, 1999)

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