Czech-language hoaxes deceive online with footage from feature films and news reports
A Czech-language hoax published by the Facebook page called "Evropa – Evropanům" (Europe for Europeans) was shared by 10 000 people over the course of just 23 hours on 25 August. The hoax used video footage of a brutal clash between riot police and young men and misinformed the public that it depicted an "Islamic invasion".
After the well-known Czech documentary filmmaker Dan Pribáň warned through his own Facebook profile that the video was not footage of an attack by "Islamists", but was instead clips from a demonstration by students demanding the opening of a university in the South American country of Peru, he then called on his fans and friends to comment on the deceptive video on thev"Evropa - Evropanům" Facebook page. The administrators of that page subsequently erased the video.
"I have the feeling that those who share these videos are something like people who watch horror films - they want to feel fear, they want to see these things. Why that is, however, I don't know. Apparently it's because it confirms what they believe to be 'true'. They are frightened of Islam, but they also have their own immovable faith, their own 'imams' - a celebrity or another Facebook page - who tell them things that they believe are true. They don't think about what they receive from these sources, they just share it and spew hatred, and just like the extremists around Islam, they also call for the 'other' to be liquidated," Pribáň posted to his Facebook profile.
"Please, try to think before you share something. Most of the time it's not so complicated to figure out when something is a forgery. All you have to do is use critical thinking. What I've described above is not a task for some top-notch detective, it's an idiotically easy act of consideration," Pribáň posted.
News server Euronews.com has confirmed that the video posted by "Europe for Europeans" actually is not of an "Islamist invasion", but of a clash between youth and the police in Peru. Euronews.com published the video in April along with the information that it was from a demonstration that lasted several days asking for the university to be opened in the Tayacaja region if Peru - the campus was built five years ago but remains closed.
Czech-language online discussers left many hateful commentaries beneath the video on Facebook calling for radical approaches and for people to be murdered. "Shoot them right at the borders and put all the politicians who invite them here up against the wall," reads one such comment, or "Live ammunition and mow these bastards down like vermin, without mercy... they're nothing."
Feature films used for hoaxes
Such manipulation using video footage doesn't just use news clips, but also staged scenes from feature films. Last Tuesday, for example, the server EUportal.cz (a branch of the tabloid server Parlamentní listy) published a video along with a sensationalistic caption reading "This is a very brutal video of the stoning to death of a woman by Muslims. It's uncensored. It's better not to look at it. Allahu Akbar!"
In actuality the clips used by EUportal.cz are a staged scene from an American film called "The Stoning of Soraya M.", which tells the story of an actual event in 1986 when a woman falsely charged with adultery was stoned to death in the Iranian countryside. Hateful, vulgar Czech-language commentaries are already multiplying beneath the video from that film on EU portal.cz.
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